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Strikes were becoming more and more common because of the low wages and poor working conditions. Most of the labor radicals were immigrants who were communists and anarchists who opposed the capitalist system because it exploited workers.
The day before the Haymarket Riot, a strike took place at McCormick Reaper Works. The workers on strike demanded an eight-hour work day. However, the police then showed up to break up the riot which resulted in the death and injury of several of the workers on strike.
On May 4, 1886 a rally was then organized by labor radicals at Haymarket square to protest the killings of the workers that had been killed the day before.
Towards the end of the rally, Chicago policeman showed up in attempts to disperse the crowd of people. As the police advanced into the crowd an individual threw a bomb directed at the policeman.
As a result of the bomb being thrown the police and other people opened fire and chaos ensued. Seven police officers and one civilian were killed, and many were injured during the riot.
In August of 1886, eight men (labeled as anarchists) were convicted in a controversial trial. The trial was controversial because the jury supposedly convicted the men with no solid evidence and biased opinion. Judge Joseph E. Gary gave 7 of the men the death sentence and the eighth man was given 15 years in prison. On November of 1887 four of the men were hanged.
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