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13 September

'Sir, Lord Coleraine's disparaging comments on the Committee of 100 in your issue this morning recall the criticisms of the suffragette movement that I read in my schooldays. Mrs Pankhurst, the reviled leader of the 'screaming sisterhood', ended up with a statue in Westminster and Lord Russell will doubtless do the same.

September 13, 2009
1 min read

‘The sacrificial fervour of great idealistic crusades begins to capture public imagination and achieve its ends when it takes an active and ‘dangerous’ form. Not only the suffragette movement, but Mahatma Gandhi’s civil disobedience campaign in India, bears witness to this uncomfortable historical fact.’

Vera Brittain, The Times, 19 September 1961

Philosopher and pacifist Bertrand Russell, was arrested today in 1961, aged 89. Russell was taking part in a Committee of 100 demonstration in Trafalgar Square, London. The demonstration had been banned by the police, but the protesters ignored the ban. Vera Brittain, then aged 68, was among the protesters who when finding their route blocked by the police, protested by sitting down sat in the middle of the road.

Russell was charged with inciting members of the public to commit breaches of the peace and refusing to bind himself to a promise of good behaviour for 12 months, he chose a one-month prison sentence.

PS Vera was right and Bertand Russell’s statue can be found in Red Lion Square


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