19th Century Protest and the Matchgirls Strike (1888): Annie Besant, London’s First Wonder Woman

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In Dons of Time, Tonio Wolfe travels back in time to Bloody Sunday and the Matchgirls Strike

During the Sedona vortex expedition he had seen her a second time. Of the infinite choices available to him in that moment he had found her in the midst of a crisis. Could it be an accident? What did it really mean? At least it was possible to isolate the moment — November 13, the climax of a series of demonstrations that had been building for months.

The dispossessed of London had begun to protest unemployment. The term was new, just coined. The police response was predictably harsh, often resulting in injuries and arrests. Even the press wasn’t safe.

For those in charge the problem was mainly tactical, a question of how to maintain public order. That meant stopping the protests in Trafalgar Square. Demonstrations had become an almost daily occurrence there. It was the most convenient place in the city for an outdoor gathering, and a central refuge for the homeless. Hundreds of men and women slept in its nooks and crannies, joined in daylight by thousands more, the ragged denizens of the city’s notorious East End.

Annie Besant

Trafalgar was also near Westminster and Buckingham Palace. As a result Lord Salisbury, who often saw threats to pubic safety where there were none, ordered the chief of the Metro Police to take care of it. Perhaps the Square should be ringed with fences, the security conscious Lord advised. That way, if trouble came at least the trouble-makers…


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