Last night saw the premiere of the much-anticipated Suffragette, but this was no normal premiere. More than 100 feminist protestors jumped the barriers onto the red carpet alongside stars of the film including Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep and Anne-Marie Duff.
Lead by activists from Sisters Uncut, who campaign against domestic violence, protestors laid themselves on the red carpet wearing tops emblazoned with “Two women killed every week” and “Dead women can’t vote”, making reference to the governmental cuts to domestic abuse services.
In a letter penned for the Independent, one protestor explained their thinking: “Two women a week are dying at the hands of a current or former partner in the UK, and after all, dead women can’t vote. We organise in the spirit of the Suffragettes themselves and feel certain that had they been alive today, they would have been down there with us.”
Despite the knock-on effect the protest had on the event (delays and extra security included), actresses Helena Bonham Carter and Romola Garai gave the protestors their nod of approval.
“I haven’t spoken to them or seen their demands but I’m happy to see the suffrage movement is alive and happening,” said Garai.
Helena Bonham Carter added: “I think it’s marvellous. That is exactly what the suffragettes were about. Hopefully the film will inspire anybody who feels an injustice has been done, to be bold enough to protest.”
New mum (though it wasn’t confirmed in the UK, we spotted her adorable bump) Carey Mulligan, who plays aspiring suffragette Maud Watts, said: “Hopefully this film will inspire everyone in the way they view the world. We are an unbalanced society – women and men – and films like this inspire conversations about how we can correct that imbalance.”
And while Suffragette has done exactly that, Mulligan went on to add that there is still a long way to go before us women are on equal footing with men.
“It’s slow and steady. We are optimistic that things need to change and brilliant actresses like Jennifer Lawrence are making enormous amounts of money in the box office and Hollywood is starting to realise there might be something in it.”
Protesting aside, the premiere went on as normal and the film will run as part of the BFI London Film Festival until October 18th.