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Meryl Streep’s ‘Suffragette’ Premiere Invaded By Women’s Rights Protesters With Smoke Bombs

Thu, October 8, 2015 12:13am EDT by 2 Comments
Suffragette Premiere Protest
Getty Images

More than a hundred women’s rights protestors stormed the red carpet premiere of Meryl Streep’s latest film, ‘Suffragette,’ in London on Oct. 7. The protesters were reportedly armed with smoke bombs and had to be physically carried away by security guards after delaying the event!

It was a classic case of life imitating art at the red carpet premiere of Suffragette at the BFI London Film Festival in Leicester Square on Oct. 7, after a group of more than a hundred women’s rights protesters stormed the venue in a demonstration against domestic violence. Their inspiration? The film itself! 

The protesters, who are part of a women’s rights group called Sisters Uncut, laid their bodies on the red carpet at the film’s premiere, delaying the event about 15 minutes before having to be physically carried away by security,” the Guardian reports. Though the demonstration was a peaceful one, several of the protesters were reportedly carrying green and purple smoke bombs that quickly filled the air as they continued to chant “dead women can’t vote” and “domestic violence cuts kills”

According to the group’s Facebook page, the demonstration was meant to express their outrage over Parliament’s recent decision to cut funding for domestic violence services. “To those in power, our message is this: your cuts are sexist, your cuts are dangerous, and you think that you can get away with them because you have targeted the people who you perceive as powerless,” reads the post on Sisters Uncut’s page. “We are those people, we are women, we will not be silenced.”

While it has not yet been confirmed whether the protest was in response to the film itself, it appears that it may have at least in some part been inspired by its message. The film, which stars Meryl Streep, 66, Carey Mulligan, 30, and Helena Bonham Carter, 49, tells the story of the British women’s suffrage movement of the late 19th and early 20th century, with Meryl playing suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst.

The film’s stars appeared to have even been in support of the demonstration, calling it a “perfect response” to the movie. “I’m glad our film has done something. That’s exactly what it’s there for,” Helena said in an interview with Sky News. Meanwhile, new mother Carey, who plays aspiring suffragette Maud Watts, added: “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.”

While Meryl was not believed to have been at the premiere at the time of the protest, she has nonetheless been an outspoken champion of women’s rights over the years, and recently spoke out against what she says is a shocking lack of female critics in the film industry. “If men don’t look around the the board of governors table and feel something is wrong when half the people there are not women then we’re not going to make any progress,” she told BBC.

Suffragette opens in U.S. theaters on October 23, 2015.

— Alyssa Montemurro