Regina Riot remembered

Labour organizers plan to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Regina Riot in the Saskatchewan capital Thursday.

Walk to mark July 1, 1935, crackdown on Depression-era protest

Labour organizers plan to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Regina Riot in the Saskatchewan capital Thursday.

On July 1, 1935, Regina police unexpectedly cracked down on a Depression-era protest called the On To Ottawa Trek, which began when unemployed men in British Columbia organized a train trip to Ottawa to demand federal aid for the unemployed.

The federal government ordered arrest warrants for some of the trek organizers and Regina police decided to make the arrests during a public meeting. The confrontation between police and demonstrators in downtown Regina triggered vicious street fighting, and left one policeman and one trekker dead along with scores of others injured.

The incident became a landmark event in the history of the Canadian labour movement.

An interpretive walk through the downtown riot site is to be led by guides from the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour. The walk is expected to begin in front of Regina's downtown police station.

"We aren't a vicious society, we don't get involved in these things very often," said Don Anderson of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour. "Yet, these people, through no fault of their own, got involved in this attack by police."

During Thursday's tour, Anderson said he'll be thinking of the two men killed in the riot who lie in a nearby graveyard.

Det. Charles Millar and trekker Nicholas Shaack lie buried just metres apart.