Page last updated at 16:14 GMT, Saturday, 10 October 2009 17:14 UK

Suffragette march marks centenary

The parade marking the suffragette demonstration
The parade re-enacted the march in Edinburgh 100 years ago

About 2,500 people have taken part in a parade in Edinburgh marking a key suffragette demonstration which took place 100 years ago.

Participants carried banners and dressed in historic costumes in Saturday's re-enactment of the original march in the capital in 1909.

The movement was a fight for women's rights which lasted almost 60 years.

At the time hundreds of people took banners and flags to join a rally along Princes Street on 10 October 1909.

Women were finally awarded the vote in 1928, but on Saturday their fight was remembered as people took part in a re-enactment of that day.

It is the culmination of a summer of activities that has seen traditional protest banners and quilts being made, and a major exhibition about the movement at Edinburgh museum.

Tram works mean the procession could not follow the original route along Princes Street but it started at Brunsfield Links and finished at the top of Calton Hill.

The parade marking the suffragette demonstration
The suffrage movement spanned almost six decades

Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop, who joined the procession, said: "Without the suffragists and suffragettes we would still be stuck in an age when women couldn't own property, they couldn't hold public positions and they couldn't vote.

"The suffrage movement made a lasting contribution to Scottish democracy and society. They led the way for women to have their voice heard and towards an end to discrimination and prejudice."

Ms Hyslop said some of the biggest suffragette demonstrations were in Edinburgh.

"The city saw the first suffragette to be force-fed in a Scottish prison, Ethel Moorhead, imprisoned in Calton Jail," she added.

"I think she would have found it hard believe that one day the offices of the Scottish government would stand on that very spot, a government not only elected by women voters, but including women ministers."

Anne McGuire, Labour MP for Stirling, said: "I wouldn't be allowed to be a politician today without the struggle of the suffragettes.

"These women changed political life forever in the UK, allowing women to enter what was at one stage a male-only arena."



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SEE ALSO
Women's fight for vote celebrated
30 Jul 09 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Showcase for suffragettes' work
15 Dec 06 |  Scotland
Pavilion to draw on past glories
07 May 09 |  Highlands and Islands
The legacy of the Suffragettes
05 Oct 03 |  The Westminster Hour

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