A group of protesters stormed the red carpet of the BFI London Film Festival’s premiere of Focus Features’ period drama Suffragette in Leicester Square tonight. The UK’s Guardian newspaper reports that activists from Sisters Uncut, an anti-domestic violence group, wanted to use the occasion to protest recent government cuts to domestic violence services.
The premiere that opened this year’s fest was running behind schedule owing to the fracas, the Guardian said. The pic, which opens October 23 in North America, is the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement as they fought for the right to vote. Meryl Streep, Helena Bonham Carter and Carey Mulligan star in the pic helmed by Sarah Gavron from Abi Morgan’s screenplay. All walked the red carpet for the event.
The Guardian said more than 100 protesters jumped the barriers onto the red carpet outside the Odeon cinema in central London as “green and purple smoke bombs filled the air.” No injuries were reported, but the paper said security was seen physically pushing and carrying the activists back over the barriers surrounding the venue.
During BFI’s live stream of the event (see the video below) the protesters’ chants including “We are suffragettes” could be heard as the actors walked the red carpet and the festival’s presenter conducted interviews over the PA system.
The movie centers on Maud (Mulligan), a working wife and mother secretly recruited to join the cause of gaining the right to vote for women. Inspired by the group’s fiery leader Emmeline Pankhurst (Streep), Maud becomes an activist for the cause alongside women from all walks of life. When increasingly aggressive police action forces Maud and her dedicated fellow suffragettes underground, they engage in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with the authorities, who are shocked as the women’s civil disobedience escalates and sparks debate across the nation.
The festival runs through October 18.