Crowds in George Square on Bloody Friday, 31 January 1919. A line of police can be seen in the foreground.
In 1919 Glasgow's engineering unions called for a general strike starting on 27 January in support of the demand for a 40-hour working week. Up to 40,000 men came out that day, and 70,000 on the following day. Strikers were told to meet in George Square on Friday to hear Lord Provost Sir James Watson Stewart read a response from the Government to the unions' request for Government intervention in the dispute.
Large crowds gathered in and around the City Chambers while union leaders met Stewart inside. The police alleged that demonstrators blocked the routes of trams travelling past George Square, and they charged with drawn batons to clear surrounding streets. Some bottles and stones were thrown, about forty members of the public were hurt, and several union leaders were arrested on charges of riot and incitement to riot. The incident did much to establish the reputation of "Red Clydeside" in the popular imagination.
Reproduced with the permission of The Herald and Evening Times, (c) SMG
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