31 January 1919: Reading the Riot Act
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Battle of George Square, 1919

An historical anecdote from the Clydeside General Strike of 1919 (pictured)


In George Square in Glasgow
in Nineteen-nineteen
Sixty thousand red rebels
are striking a scene

The sheriff takes stage
to proclaim the King's words
Required by the Riot Act
order: Disperse!

By Royal decree
clear the square in an hour
On pain of a pounding
of military power

But one red protester
is taking a stand
And snatches the scroll
from the sheriff's whip hand

If it's read out, it counts
If it isn't, it doesn't
Clydeside is red
but the Riot Act isn't