1950: The Times on London Mayday

Submitted by libcom on September 4, 2005

"Police break up procession: 69 arrested in West End"
An article on the events of Mayday in Trafalgar Square, London in 1950.

Hundreds of mounted and foot police assembled in the West End of London yesterday, prevented 'May Day' demonstrators from defying the Home Secretary's prohibition of political processions.

Struggles between demonstrators and police occurred in various parts of the West End when thousands of people converged on Trafalgar Square for a rally called by the London Trades Council. Mounted police rode along roads and pavements, breaking up processions, and banners and placards with the legends 'Peace' and 'Stop the war in Malaya' were wrested from standard-bearers. Sixty-nine persons were charged last night and will appear in Court today.

One man arrested in the Strand was later charged with assaulting a chief superintendent of police, obstruction, and resisting arrest. The injuries to the chief superintendent were stated not to be serious. Scotland Yard stated last night that two inspectors and nine constables were also injured yesterday.

Some demonstrators who eluded a police cordon across Whitehall by jumping on buses, alighted near the Cenotaph, where they defied the police with shouts of 'You can't touch us here'. When they were forced to leave it was found that some wreaths had been disturbed.

One large wreath of poppies had been moved, and plastered across it was a foot-square banner bearing the word 'Peace'. An attempt was made later to deposit a banner on the Cenotaph from a passing car.
The demonstrators also tried to enter Downing Street but were turned away by more than a hundred policemen, who stood shoulder to shoulder at both ends of the street.

The Times, May 8 1950.