Page 5 - The 1923 Strike in Steel and the Miners' Sympathy Strike
ISSUE : Issue 22
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1979/6/1
in holding the men off and preventing them from wreaking damage on the plant, which was apparently their purpose. During the night a number of the police suffered mi? nor injuries by blows from rocks thrown in the dark in the direction of the gate house. The casualties among the strikers were more numerous. Not a few of the men were quite severely clubbed. Things were fairly quiet about No. k gate all afternoon. About six o'clock the strikers began to gather and by eight o'clock a thousand or fifteen hxmdred of them were crowded in the street outside the fence. On the outside of the fence Chief McCormick and a half dozen of his men took up patrol. A force of steel and coal company police numbering about a doz? en were stationed inside the entrance. At nine o'clock the stage was set for something to happen. The men were in a belligerent mood as was evidenced by the hoots and jeers they hurled at the police. The leaders among the strikers were doing their best to work their fellows into fighting spirit and in this they were fairly successful. Things begsin to look nasty about nine o'clock. "Let us inside, boys," some of the strikers started yelling. The shout was taken up by himdreds of the men and a shower of rocks followed. The police took whatever shelter they could find about the gate to protect themselves from the mis? siles which flew towards them in the dark. The stoning continued for several minutes. Large rocks boimced from the roof and walls of the gate house and the electric lights about the entrance were smashed. The fusilade of rocks ended suddenly and the strikers, thinking that the barrage on the police had made matters simple, rushed the entrance. As many as could catch hold of the gate fastened on and pushed it o- pen. A dozen policemen sprang side by side into the breach and with sticks ready for action succeeded in holding the strikers off. When the crowd backed up the officers closed the entrance. the front ranks brandished their weapons in the faces of the police and demanded that the gate be opened. "We'll open it if you want to go outside," one officer shouted at them. Without wait? ing for an answer the police swung the gate open. A few of the strikers on the street joined their fellows inside and ig? noring the police they started through the plant to the boiler house which seemed to be the one object of their attentions. At the boiler house they got a reception which made them wish they had never en? tered the plant.... About four hundred faithful employees of the company who remained on the jobs when the strike was called, were organized into a defensive force by Capt. D, A, Noble..,. While the mob outside howled and rushed the gates, this force of men remained drawn up in readiness nea' the boiler house, the main objective of the strikers, to repel any attack which the vandals out? side the fence might make. Armed with iron bars and each man with a white cloth band about his arm as a mark of identification, they made a formidable looking force. When the party of one hundred men who forced their way through a gap in the fence, ap? proached the boiler house with the inten? tion of driving out the men who operated it, they met this force of employees and got the surprise of their lives. The po? lice and the defence men attacked the raiders and put them to flight in less time than it takes to tell it. Union leaders who have made the statement that less than a hundred steelworkers re? main on the plant should have viewed this force of defensive men on Friday to find out their mistake. They numbered about three hundred and they were as anxious to protect the plant from damage as any po? liceman. This defensive force is made up of only a part of the men still remaining on the plant. As many more are engaged in maintenance work about the various mills. Post:SOLDIERS WILL PROTECT STEEL PLANT FROM FURTHER DAMAGE Now, worked to a high pitch of excitement, some of the strikers decided that to tear the fence down would be a simpler way of getting into the works. One man started to cut a hole into the fence with an axe. Others went to a point a hundred yards north of the gate and tore boards away, making a hole big enough for a dozen men to enter at a time. The more daring of the mob went through the hole and stopping there encouraged their comrades with loud shouts to follow them.... In a few minutes a crowd of about a hun? dred men gathered inside the fence and started towards the gate to take the po? lice officers at the rear. Wildly yelling and waving clubs in the air they marched along inside the fence. Ten feet away from the gate the mob stopped short. The men in With iuta te two himdred and fifty trained infan- -'J'' : Ml % '''''''H '"' ' . '' "" '-'m., *'" ""-'' The Royal Canadian Horse Artillery at Sydney
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