Suffragettes July 22 1913





The police succeeded in rearresting Mrs. Pankhurst yesterday afternoon, and she is now again in Holloway Prison serving a further instalment of her sentence of three years’ penal servitude for conspiracy. She was taken while endeavouring to attend the weekly meeting of the Women’s Social and Political Union at the London Pavilion. As was the case when Miss Annie Kenney was rearrested last Monday, on which occasion Mrs. Pankhurst managed to escape through the cordon of officers, there were wild scenes at the Pavilion when the police appeared on the scene. They were at once surrounded by a throng of raging women and fierce fighting took place, blows being freely given and exchanged. Mrs. Pankhurst’s presence at the Pavilion meeting was expected when her escape from the flat at Westminster was known with certainty. Not sure that she had left the place on Saturday midnight, when they were tricked into arresting her “double” detectives still watched the flat during Sunday and yesterday morning, after which they discovered that the vigil was useless.

Determined that Mrs. Pankhurst should not elude them a second time, should she emerge from her hiding place and make another dramatic appearance at the Pavilion meeting, the police surrounded the building yesterday afternoon. Inspector Riley, of the Special Branch of Scotland Yard, stood outside the main entrance closely scrutinising each arrival, while plain clothes officers in addition to uniformed men were posted at every other entrance to the building. An exceptionally large number of uniformed and un-uniformed police were drafted into the neighbourhood, and, even before the commencement of the meeting a well-dressed middle-aged woman was arrested outside the theatre and taken to Marlborough-street Station. A large crowd followed the police and their captive through Regent-street, and there was some cheering mingled with hooting.

The militant leader was apprehended in the entrance hall of the theatre by Sub-Divisional Inspector Hayes and Detective Hunter. Mrs Pankhurst was passing through the hall on the way to the stage when the officers seized her and thrust her into a taxi-cab, in which she was at once driven to Holloway Prison followed by eight Suffragists in another cab. It was just three o’clock, the time for the meeting to commence, when the women who filled the auditorium began to get wildly excited, and from the dark passage on the left of the stage came sounds of a scuffle. Immediately the rumour spread through the meeting that Mrs. Pankhurst had been arrested, but no details were forthcoming.

It is certain that a fierce fight between frantic women and the police took place in the narrow passage between the entrance hall and the auditorium and that half-a-dozen arrests were made. Mrs. Pankhurst was ultimately got out of the building by the Shaftesbury-avenue entrance. No attempt was made to rescue her by the people in the street. In fact, it was a crowd hostile to her that witnessed her removal, and loud cries were raised of “Burn her!” The tactics of the police completely surprised the Suffragists, who imagined that in the building Mrs. Pankhurst was secure from the law. When the detectives and uniformed men entered and seized the women’s leader they met with a stubborn resistance. Hatpins were used against them, and they were given a severe handling. Reinforcements, however, were forthcoming, and arrest after arrest was made. Mrs. Pankhurst was hurried into a room, a cordon of officers prevented the people in the auditorium from going to her rescue, and a guard in the street barred admittance, while she was hurried away. The severity of the fight was borne testimony to by the black eyes and cut faces which the police sustained. It seems that the police were in various parts of the building, and directly Mrs. Pankhurst was seen in the entrance hall the signal was given and reinforcements hurried in. No fewer than 150 uniformed men rushed into the theatre. The free fight which followed was very fierce. Mrs. Pankhurst was taken into a room on the left of the entrance hall, and the maddened women, police, umbrellas flew about, and were smashed over the officers’ heads, hats, coats, and dresses were torn, blood flowed, and injuries were received by both sides. The officers, however, quickly cleared the entrance hall, putting the women into the street.

In the course of the fight, Inspector Riley, having fallen, was half choked by the amazons, and a detective had to use his heavy stick before their hands were removed from the Inspector’s throat. At the close of the meeting the Special Branch men scrutinised every woman who left the Pavilion in the hope of securing a few “Cat and Mouse” prisoners, but none was detected.

The taxicab containing Mrs. Pankhurst arrived at Holloway Prison about 3.30 p.m.. Mrs. Pankhurst leaned out of the window, waved her handkerchief, and shouted: “Good-bye.” Two of the Suffragists who had followed her immediately took up sentry duty outside the prison. When the militant leader arrived at Holloway she refused to leave the cab, and the two officers who were escorting her were obliged to lift her out and carry her through the gates. She still refused to walk and had to be carried into the receiving room, and it is understood that she means to strike against walking as well as food. When arrested Mrs. Pankhurst said nothing, and maintained silence all the way to the prison except on one occasion, when she asked Sub-Divisional-Inspector Hayes what he thought the bars on his uniform were for. The drive to Holloway was accomplished in record time, for, whenever there was a danger of the cab being pulled up on account of traffic the Inspector put his head out of the window and the vehicle was stopped. That the pursuing women had every intention of making a serious attempt at rescue is undoubted. There were eight of them, and the doors of the prison were only just slammed in time. A warder, having noticed the approach of the cab containing the prisoner, threw open the gates wide to let it through, and then hastily closed them, just as the pursuing vehicle arrived.

The detectives stated that Mrs. Pankhurst must have entered the Pavilion during the morning, for she certainly did not go in by any door while they were watching between 1.30 and three o’clock. A member of the W.S.P.U., however, declares that her leader entered at the main door just before three o’clock.



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