Protest marches of the unemployed are generally associated with the 1920s and 1930s. An early forerunner is the March of the Blanketeers on 10 March 1817. Several thousand unemployed or underemployed handloom weavers marched from Manchester to London to petition for relief. As the participants were seen carrying rolled-up blankets and knapsacks on their backs, they came to be known as the Blanketeers. Large numbers of the marchers were stopped and arrested at various locations; the majority was turned back. One marcher did indeed reach London one week later and presented his petition to the Prince-Regent.
Read more? Margrit Schulte Beerbühl, 'The March of the Blanketeers: tragic failure or Pioneer of Unemployed Protest?' in: Unemployment and Protest (Oxford 2011)