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Suffragette Riots at Westminster

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Suffragette Riots at Westminster

Panic on the streets of London: a women's suffrage protest breaks into violence.

Non-Fiction 1910 1 mins

Overview

Hundreds of women were injured - and many arrested - in the fierce confrontations with police on 18 November, dubbed 'Black Friday'. This newsreel taken on that day gives a partial account. Women campaigning for the vote assembled outside Parliament in the wake of the failure of the Conciliation Bill (the first of three unsuccessful attempts by the Liberal government to extend the vote to property-owning women). But their protest turned violent as the crowds surge into the police cordon.

Newsreel companies were expert planners, and scheduled, predictable news (such as an advertised protest) was their mainstay. Camera operators would be posted to the best vantage points, and in good time to catch the action. But something's amiss with this report: unusually, it's compiled from awkward shots half peering over the heads of bystanders estranged from the kerfuffle. Maybe everything unfolded too quickly? Or the equipment was too cumbersome to adapt to the event's rapidly escalating violence?