British women march to celebrate suffragettes

Thousands march across UK to mark 100 years of women's right to vote

100 years of voting: British marches celebrate suffragettes

Those marching wore the suffragette colours of green, violet and white and were choreographed to appear as a moving suffragette flag.

SCOTLAND's women more than played their part in the United Kingdom wide Processions event to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918 which gave women the right to vote for the first time.

In London, an organization of female ex-prisoners and the Worshipful Company of Upholders, one of the Livery Companies of the City of London, named for the archaic word for "upholsterer", lofted their banners during the march.

Taryn Trainor, regional equalities officer for the Unite trade union, said she was struck by the number of young women who took part in Sunday's parade, which weaved from the Titanic Quarter to City Hall.

ImageA bagpiper performing at Processions 2018 commemorating women’s suffrage
ImageA bagpiper performing at Processions 2018 commemorating women’s suffrage

Women marched in the colours of the suffragette movement, buying out purple and green tassels in a craft shop in London.

Mother and daughter Claire Gillett and Chloe Whittaker, from Great Saling in eastern England, wore green shawls and said they had recently discovered suffrage among their ancestors.

Gillett said she was "super proud" of her forbears, especially since she'd always believed "women in our family aren't very outspoken or bold". The banners are reminders of the original banners made and carried by suffragettes through the years of protests and mass demonstrations for the vote, but many also take up more recent themes of struggles for human rights. They defied the law, went on hunger strike, broke windows and even set off bombs in pursuit of their goal.

Organiser Processions said they hoped to inspire thousands of women and girls from across the United Kingdom to walk together to form a "living portrait" of women in the 21st Century.

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They added: "Processions celebrates the fight for suffrage and expresses what it means to be a woman today".

Women won the right to vote through the militant approaches of the suffragettes and the more civil, law-abiding suffragist movement.

The event in Edinburgh passed off peacefully and ended in Holyrood Park, adjacent to the Scottish Parliament where women MSPs include the First Minister and the leader of the Conservative Party.

She said, "the atmosphere was incredible".

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The focus has since turned to Northern Ireland where abortion remains illegal in all but the most exceptional of circumstances - out of step with the Republic and the rest of the UK.

"They were really quite anarchic", said artist Quilla Constance, standing with a riotously colorful banner from the group Bedford Creative Arts. "They had to really fight".

"I think they're here today in spirit, and we're giving them high fives", she said.

A sizeable number of the estimated 5,000 participants used the Processions 2018 event to voice support for a change in laws in the region.

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As part of the Processions project, community and women's groups across Northern Ireland worked with female artists to create handmade banners, addressing contemporary women's issues. Around three in four people said the same in cases of fatal fetal abnormalities.

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