Monday, May 7, 2012

"(Greek) Woman Leads Strike Mob..." - Lowell, Massachusetts - article published in Chicago Daily Tribune, April 8, 1903


Published in the Chicago Daily Tribune, April 8, 1903

WOMAN LEADS STRIKE MOB
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AT HEAD OF RIOTERS SHE
ADVANCES ON POLICE.
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Thousands of Greeks Threaten to Overwhelm
the Representatives of the Law -
Officer in Command Lines Up
His Men from Curb to Curb and
Drives the Great Throng Through
Streets of Lowell, Mass. -
Trouble a Result of the Mill Walkout.
-----
Lowell, Mass., April 7. - (Special.) - A modern Joan of Arc tonight led a mob of 1,000 Greeks, mill strikers, against practically the entire police force of the city.  Shouting that the workers must have their rights the woman at the head of the irate foreigners advanced until the representatives of the law were being forced back step by step.

Bloodshed was averted narrowly and then only through the good generalship of the officer in command of the squadron of police.  At the crucial moment, when it seemed a serious clash was imminent, the police were ordered to form in solid line from curb to curb.  Then came an order to draw the night clubs, as before it had not been deemed prudent to make a display of weapons.

Drive Rioters Before Them.

Then came the finish of the riot.  The thousands in the mob, crowded like cattle in the street, were halted.  Astounded by the formidable showing made by the police, they stopped.  The line of police, several deep, advanced, and though far outnumbered marched forward, driving the rioters before them.

For more than a mile through the principal streets of the city the mob was forced.  At cross streets one after another fled into the darkness until where at first had been thousands only a few hundred remained.  When the Greek colony was reached the remaining rioters dispersed rapidly, leaving the police victors.

The trouble, which started at the gates of the Lawrence hosiery plant, was the result of the return to work of a number of ring spinners, who left their positions a week ago in sympathy with the strike order of the textile council.

Demands Fight to a Finish.

An attempt was made tonight to hold a mass meeting in the heart of the Greek colony.  The police stopped this.  Then the Greeks went to the south common, where the mass meeting was held.  Constantin, the Greek society president, said to his countrymen:

"Don't go to work until you get your rights.  Stay out as long as any one stays out, and don't let any one go to work until you all go to work, until you all get your raise."

Enthusiasm was shown by the loud cheerings.  After the mass meeting the Greeks and the people, who by this time numbered thousands, as if by common consent, headed for the mill section.

Workers Confronted by Mob.

At 6 o'clock, when the mill gates opened and the operatives came out, they saw in front of them great numbers of men and women.  A body of Greeks was marching toward the mill, headed by a young woman.  This body came in contact with police officers.

The crowd surged off the sidewalks for a minute and swept back the officers.  As it looked as if this crowd might break through the cordon, the order was given to the officers to draw their sticks.  The Greeks in turn fell back, giving the police a chance to rush forward and make an effort at dispersing.  The police started marching, and the Greeks continued to retreat until the Greek colony was reached.  The young woman leader was lost in the crowd and her identity has not been learned.



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