1950-1959 | Cyprus | Detention without trial | Martial law | Torture

British introduce state of emergency in Cyprus

26 November 1955 During a short radio statement at 17.00 GMT on Saturday 26 November 1955, Field Marshal Sir John Harding, the newly appointed governor of Cyprus, announced draconian emergency laws to crush a growing revolt against British rule.  The death penalty could now be applied for the possession of firearms, ammunition or explosives regardless…

1950-1959 | Collective punishments | Concentration camps | Detention without trial | Kenya | Martial law

British governor of Kenya declares a state of emergency

20 October 1952 Today in 1952, Kenya’s governor, Evelyn Baring, signed a state of emergency.  In the early hours of the following morning, in an operation code-named Jock Scott, 106 Kenyan civil rights leaders and individuals suspected of being overly sympathetic to an anti-British rebellion, known as the Mau Mau uprising, were arrested. Most of…

1960-1969 | Martial law | Torture | Yemen

Britain suspends the Aden constitution and imposes direct rule

25 September 1965 On 25 September 1965, the British government suspended the constitution in its colony of  Aden, officially known as the South Arabian Federation. All governing powers were placed in the hands of Sir Richard Turnbull, the high commissioner. The state legislature was dismissed and a dusk to dawn curfew imposed.1 A Downing Street…

1900-1919 | Civilians slaughtered | Executions | Flogging | Martial law | Sri Lanka

Martial law in Ceylon, hundreds shot on sight, thousands arrested

2 June 1915 On 2 June 1915, Sir Robert Chalmers, the governor of Ceylon, on the pretext that ethnic rioting between Muslims and Sinhalese Buddhists had been provoked by German agents, declared martial law. There was, however, no evidence to suggest any German involvement.  Bonar Law, Secretary of State for the Colonies, admitted a month…

1920-1939 | Censorship | Collective punishments | Detention without trial | Martial law | Palestine

British security forces in Palestine granted draconian powers

19 April 1936 At 9 pm on 19 April 1936, Sir Arthur Wauchope, the British High Commissioner in Palestine, proclaimed a series of what he termed ‘precautionary measures,’ which gave Britain’s security forces enormous powers. This followed two days of rioting, triggered by sectarian violence between the Jewish and Arab communities, as well as Arab…

1940-1949 | Curfews | Martial law | Palestine

Martial law imposed on Palestine’s Jewish population

2 March 1947 On 2 March 1947, General Sir Alan Cunningham, the High Commissioner in Palestine, declared martial law in Tel Aviv, its surrounding suburbs and in several Jewish neighbourhoods of Jerusalem. Thousands of British troops and police officers were deployed across the two cities in iron fisted operations, code-named Hippo (for Tel Aviv) and…

1800-1859 | Curfews | Famine | Martial law

British react to famine in Ireland with martial law bill

23 February 1846 On 23 February 1846, the Irish Coercion Bill was introduced into the House of Lords, following reports that famine struck tenants in Ireland were not paying rent to their landlords. The bill was to allow for the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to introduce martial law to any district, impose curfews from sunset…

1940-1949 | Curfews | Martial law | Palestine

Monty on Palestine – Ignore world and Jewish opinion

2 January 1947 On 2 January 1947, Field Marshal Montgomery, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, sent an urgent telegraph to General Sir Harold Pyman, Chief of Staff of Middle East Land Forces. He informed him that the Cabinet Defence Committee had backed his own preference for a hard line in Palestine, where demands were…

1920-1939 | Martial law

27 DECEMBER

WIDESPREAD CELEBRATIONS FOLLOW REPEAL OF THE ‘JEW BILL’ [ 27 December 1753 ] In the summer of 1753, the Whig government passed a bill enabling Jews, who were already resident in Britain, to be naturalised without having to receive the sacrament at Holy Communion. SLAVES IN JAMAICA REFUSE TO WORK FOR THEIR BRITISH SLAVE MASTERS…

1950-1959 | Censorship | Collective punishments | Curfews | Cyprus | Detention without trial | Martial law

22 JULY

HUNDREDS OF GREEK CYPRIOTS DETAINED WITHOUT TRIAL [ 22 July 1958 ] At 1 am on 22 July 1958, Operation Matchbox commenced. The British Army’s orders were to detain anyone suspected of having any affiliation with the Greek Cypriot EOKA movement, an organisation which demanded the end of rule from London and for the island…