‘Black Friday’ statement, 1

Extract from a police file documenting suffragettes’ complaints about police brutality on 18 November 1910. A large suffragette deputation went to the House of Commons in protest at the failure of the Conciliation Bill. Many suffragettes and their supporters were assaulted by the police and this resulted in a massive suffragette window-smashing campaign in protest. (Catalogue ref: MEPO 3/203)


Miss C. Richardson’s Complaint.

At Downing Street, while outside the second police cordon in Whitehall, I was standing looking on at the police battering the women about, when a policeman ordered me away ……… I was again in a clearing alone …….. Inside the cordon there were throngs of men and boys. I said “Why do you pick me out? Why not send those men and boys away? He replied “Those boys are all right, it is you I am after”. He made a leap, clutched me by the throat and the next instant the back of my head crashed on the pavement. I heard a woman’s voice scream “Dont [sic] kill her”, and I was afterwards told by a woman who came to my aid that a man exclaimed “There is the first death”. She told me that the policeman had flung me right in front of a motor car and that the left wheel touched my dress. The number of the policeman was 503.E. ….. I saw three other women flung to the pavement, one with a heavy policeman on top of her. I saw a policeman grab women by the collars, shake them and flight them aside like rats. I saw them take women up and fling them on the crowd as many logs on a wood pile …… The marks of the four fingers of the first mentioned policeman did not leave my arm for two weeks.

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