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BFI London Film Festival Kicks Off With Meryl Streep’s ‘Suffragette’ and Red Carpet Protest

The 59th BFI London Film Fest opened with cries of protest Wednesday night, as the fest’s fiercely feminist opener, “Suffragette,” meant guests witnessed more of an uprising than they, or security, had bargained for.

In true rebel style, feminist protesters caused a stir by setting off smoke bombs adjacent to the red carpet and storming the security barriers, lying en masse along the red carpet whilst chanting, “Dead women can’t vote” — referring to recent government funding cuts to domestic abuse services.


Protest on the red carpet at the BFI London Film Festival, photo by Richard Young/Rex Shutterstock

Within Leicester Square’s Odeon it was a firm female front for both the film and fest, where BFI’s Amanda Nevill joined helmer Sarah Gavron, as well as Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter to introduce the pic to all.

Mulligan had worked the red carpet, but could only join her comrades on stage briefly, before running off to care for her newborn. She explained her personal stance on feminism: “It’s a man’s journey as well, to find that equality in society. It’s for everybody to embrace.”

After the screening, guests headed east to Old Billingsgate Market to kick off the festival with champagne style.

(Pictured: Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne-Marie Duff at the “Suffragette” premiere at the BFI London Film Festival)

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