Red Clydeside: A history of the labour movement in Glasgow 1910-1932


Scene in George Square on Bloody Friday after police baton charge, 31 Jan 1919

image from Red Clydeside collection

The riot which ensued on Bloody Friday between the police and protesters is widely believed to have been started by a police baton charge against what was, up to that point, a peaceful demonstration.

The peaceful protest having been provoked, the mood changed almost immediately, with the police confronted by an angry crowd of workers who met baton charges with fists and bottles, forcing the police into a retreat from the square. After the protesters had left George Square, further rioting took place in the streets around the square and on Glasgow Green.

Over the ensuing days 10,000 English troops were deployed on the streets of Glasgow, while tanks and machine gun turrets manned the city chambers in George Square.

Source: Glasgow Trades Council Collection, Glasgow City Archives