100 years ago today: Protesters attempt to occupy the House of Commons

Next time someone describes those involved in the various Occupy movements as dirty hippies you could always reply \”No they are acting like English ladies in Edwardian times.\” On November 21 1911 women had attempted to force their way onto the floor of the House of Commons in London to protest the government\’s refusal to pledge support for a bill that would give women the right to vote. Forced back onto the streets many of the women had thrown stones, smashed windows and then physically resisted the police attempting to arrest them. From the November 22 1911 edition of The Marion Daily Mirror (Marion, Ohio. page 1) REAL WAR SAY SUFFRAGETTES / Jail Sentences no Deterrent to Women Wanting Ballot / WON\’T SHRINK FROM STRUGGLE

    Black eyes and scratched faces were numerous among the prisoners and several declared that their entire bodies were masses of bruises. They charge that the police were under orders to handle them as brutally as possible, short of inflicting serious injury, by way of discouraging them. To this end, they assert the officers struck them in the faces, pinched them, twisted their arms, ripped off garments and in some instances treated them with actual indecency.
    The leaders say these methods will not deter them for an instant from continuing their campaign until suffrage is granted them. They will also do their utmost to create disorder in jail as outside of it. They will refuse to work, the prison attendants will be resisted, there will be hunger strikes, the prison furniture will be smashed and every method resorted to to force the government to surrender.
    In last night\’s encounter scores of policemen were hurt. A number were stabbed with hat pins. Some had their eyes blackened, their noses bruised or teeth knocked out by brass knuckles in women\’s hands.

One hundred years ago \”respectable\” English ladies were willing to endure harsh treatment and jail sentences just for the right to vote. Today many women (and men) seem unwilling to even make the walk to the ballot box in order to prevent women from having their very right to life taken away from them.

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