Suffragettes October 20 1913



Violent scenes were created in St. Paul’s Cathedral yesterday morning by the conduct of successive batches of women who interrupted the service and offered forcible resistance when it was attempted to get them to leave. Before the hour appointed for worship there was a disturbances on the steps of the Cathedral that appeared to threaten trouble later, two women who tried to address arriving members of the congregation having to be removed in custody by the police. They resisted strenuously, and one of them, who was being taken by two policemen, raised herself on the arms of one, and so getting herself off the ground, kicked the officer’s legs. Once or twice she overbalanced herself and fell to the ground. Both the women were taken to Bridewell-Station and charged with assaulting the police. Later they were liberated on bail. It is intended that they shall appear at the Mansion House Police Court this morning.

On previous occasions, when Suffragists have interrupted in churches, they have chosen the time of the Litany; yesterday, however, they started about ten minutes after the service began. A Psalm was just commenced, when a body of six or eight women rose and began their chant about Miss Annie Kenney. The vergers hurried to them and requested them to leave, but the women began to expostulate loudly and pushed away the vergers, and when they were seized threw themselves on the ground, kicked, and shouted. Some of the officials’ cloaks were torn, and there was a distressing struggle like that frequently witnessed between the police and Suffragists in secular buildings. The shouting of the women greatly perturbed the congregation, but the service was proceeded with. The struggle continued for five minutes or more. “Do you call this the House of God, and you won’t let us pray?” shouted the women. “Disgraceful,” and “I won’t be handled by a man,” were other cries and the greatest distress was caused among the congregation. At length the women were got out, but no sooner had they gone than another batch got up, and there was a similar scene. After they had been ejected a third lot rose, and again there was violent disorder. After these disturbers had been got rid of the vergers saw what they took to be a fourth lot, and the head verger went up to them and quietly asked them to refrain from making a scene or leave the Cathedral. This they declined to do, and they fought angrily. The police had to be called in, and helped to remove them. The whole scene lasted nearly half an hour, and the lessons were in progress when it finished. Many of the worshippers were so upset by the scene that they could not remain for the service. Threats of further trouble next week were made, one woman saying, “It was Prayer Books to-day, but it will be whips next Sunday.

The Cathedral authorities are greatly concerned at the state of affairs, but they decline to take part in any prosecution.

Mr. Justice Bray, with the Corporation and local Magistracy, attended service at Norwich Cathedral yesterday morning, and during the Collect for all sorts and conditions of men a group of Suffragists rose and chanted the words, “Lord help and save Miriam Pratt and all those being tortured in prison for conscience sake.” The Suffragists were seated immediately behind Mr. Justice Bray, who at Cambridge Assizes last week sentenced Pratt to eighteen months’ imprisonment for arson. Having finished their recital the Suffragists resumed their seats. They were not asked to leave the building.

About twenty Suffragists attended the morning service at Birmingham Cathedral yesterday and caused a scene. There was a very large attendance, Sir Oliver Lodge, the Principal, and most of the professors and students from the University attending, in accordance with custom, at the opening of the session. When the Collect for day had been concluded the Suffragists, who occupied one of the side galleries broke in with their well-known supplication for “suffrage prisoners.” There was no attempt to interfere with them, and they quietly walked out.

At St. Luke’s Kensington, the Bishop of London, before commencing his sermon, was addressed by a woman, who expressed the hope that he would protest against forcible feeding.

The Bishop of Bath and Wells, presiding at Taunton on Saturday at a meeting held in celebration of the jubilee of the discovery of Uganda and the courses of the Nile by Captain Speke, had risen to address the audience when two women at the back of the hall called out: “Shame on the Bishop of Bath and Wells,” and some other remark which was not clearly audible. The Bishop replied “Now you have made your protest I think it will be better for you to let us to on with out meeting.” The interrupters repeated “Shame on the Bishop,” and were immediately ordered to leave by one of the stewards, who warned them that if they did not go out quietly the police would be fetched. The women replied that they were not afraid of being locked up, but thereupon left the hall without creating further trouble.




England may learn something from the United States in the matter of the treatment of militant Suffragists. When Mrs. Pankhurst arrived, and was told that she would not be permitted to enter the country she promptly announced her intention of going on hunger strike. She was informed, however, that that was her privilege, and that she might eat or starve as she preferred. Thereupon she promptly withdrew her threat. The United States is less Maudlin than England in its treatment of prisoners, and if Mrs. Pankhurst should go on hunger strike she could not be forcibly fed nor would the Government fear being denounced as a murderer for her death if she should starve herself

NEW YORK, Oct. 18
Mrs. Pankhurst who upon landing her this morning was taken to Ellis Island to appear before a special board of inquiry charged with ascertaining whether her conviction in England was for a crime involving moral turpitude, and has been refused admission to the United States by the Ellis Island authorities, will appeal to Washington – Reuters



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