Haymarket Square is in Chicago. In 1886 a diminutive anarchist movement, led by German agitators, gathered there to cause trouble. They called on the crowds to achieve reforms by violent action, after police and strikers had clashed at the McCormic Harvester factory on 3 May; three strikers had been killed in the fight, and several more badly hurt. The next day, the 4th, anarchists and strikers gathered in the Haymarket Square to protest at ‘police brutality’.
The rally was interrupted quite soon by someone throwing a bomb; it killed one policeman outright and another seven bystanders, and injured more than sixty more. This atrocity caused the police to open fire in all directions, killing four more onlookers. Eight anarchists were arrested, and it was found that all but one were foreign-born. In itself this is an interesting part of the report, because all Americans except Native Americans are or were foreign-born. In the tribunal which followed, though no evidence was shown that they had anything to do with the bomb-throwing, seven of the eight were condemned to death.
Later, two of these had the sentence reduced to life imprisonment, one killed himself, and four were hanged. In 1893 the liberal governor of the State of Illinois pardoned the three anarchists still in prison. He said in a summing-up that there had been a miscarriage of justice. Even if this was true, the statement caused tremendous public unrest, and naturally increased hostility towards the labour movement in general.
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