Statue of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst unveiled in home city

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Hundreds of modern-day suffragettes have gathered to see the unveiling of a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in her home city.

The figure, in St Peter’s Square, Manchester, was revealed on Friday on the 100th anniversary of the first UK election in which women were able to vote.

Supporters wore green and purple sashes with the slogan “Votes for Women” and chanted “deeds not words” as Mrs Pankhurst’s great-granddaughter Helen unveiled the first statue of a woman to be built in Manchester since Queen Victoria was unveiled in Piccadilly Gardens in 1901.

Hundreds of schoolchildren waved homemade banners as they marched from The Pankhurst Centre to the statue, where they met with other marchers as Eurythymics song Sisters Are Doin’ it for Themselves was played.

Sculptor Hazel Reeves said: “Emmeline, I’m so sorry your statue has been a long, long time coming – exactly 100 years since you proudly first placed your ballot paper into that box.

“It’s been a huge privilege, it really has, and a real labour of love.”

She encouraged the crowds to adopt the pose of Mrs Pankhurst, who is depicted standing on a chair to address crowds, and shout “rise up women”.

Suffragettes march through Manchester
Activists marched through Manchester ahead of the unveiling (Peter Byrne/PA)

The unveiling, hosted by BBC presenter Naga Munchetty, was the culmination of the project Our Emmeline.

Her great-granddaughter described the campaigner as someone who “defied social norms, defied the establishment and said we can do so much more”.

She said: “She was important to Manchester – her birthplace, the place where she grew up, the place where she had her kids, the place where her husband died, the place where she formed the political movement, the suffragette movement.

Emmeline Pankhurst statue unveiling
Hundreds of people attended the ceremony (Peter Byrne/PA)

“It’s welcoming her back with a march – a march with the younger generation in such evidence, a march with thousands of you.

“She is being welcomed back in a meeting circle with people congregating, coming together with that sense of community, with that sense that there’s still so much to be done.

“Let’s celebrate this moment, this wonderful moment, it means so much.”

Mrs Pankhurst was selected by the public to be immortalised as a statue from a long list of 20 inspiring Mancunian women.

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