The woman's suffrage movement in England, led by the Women's Social and Political Union (WPSU), had become increasing militant in response to the government's "Cat and Mouse Act" under which suffragette prisoners on hunger strike "could be released until they had recovered their strength and then be re-arrested" ( Pearce & Stewart 208). On March 12, 1914, the News reported that a WPSU member had mutilated Velasquez's "Rokeby Venus" in the National Gallery to protest the arrest of the group's leader Emmeline Pankhurst. Two days later, the News related: "A detachment of sex militant suffragettes armed with hatchets and hammers smashed every pane of glass on the ground floor of the residence of Reginald McKenna, Home Secretary, in Smith square, Westminster, today" (3/14/14:1).