Protests against French National Front fuehrer at Oxford University


Demonstrators  outside the Oxford Union protests against the appearance of Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s Front National. Photograph: AP

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Marine Le Pen’s Oxford university speech delayed by protesters

Appearance by leader of France’s far-right Front National party sparks protests by students chanting anti-fascist slogans

Jon Henley and Areeb Ullah

Thursday 5 February 2015 20.36 GMT

A crowd of some 300 jeering, banner-waving demonstrators delayed a speech by Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right Front National, by more than an hour at the Oxford Union.

Police and security guards were forced to close the doors to the university’s prestigious debating society after a dozen balaclava-wearing anti-fascist protesters, chanting “Le Pen, never again”, “No pasarán” and “Oxford Union, shame on you,” came close to scaling the walls from the street outside.

“This isn’t about freedom of speech – she has the right to express her views; no one is trying to silence her,” said Barnaby Raine, a second-year history and politics student and one of the organisers of the otherwise peaceful protest.

This video from England today is called Chants against Le Pen in Oxford.

“But that doesn’t mean we have to invite her here to give an hour-long talk and bring her bigoted, nasty, divisive politics into our community. Fascism has only been beaten when good people mobilise against it. Never by inviting it to dinner.”

Le Pen took over from her father, Jean-Marie, as leader of the Front National in 2011 and has since made strenuous efforts to pilot the nationalist, anti-immigrant and once openly racist party into the mainstream of French politics.

Last year’s European elections saw it finish top of a national poll for the first time in its 40-year history and polls predict Le Pen will comfortably make it through to the second round run-off in presidential elections due in 2017.

This video is called Protestors chanting against Le Pen.

Following last month’s terrorist attacks in Paris in which three Islamist gunmen shot dead 17 people, 12 of them in and outside the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, Le Pen demanded that France regain control of its borders, mount surveillance operations in radical mosques, review its relations with foreign states that sponsor terrorism, and hold a referendum on the death penalty. …

John Tanner, an Oxford councillor, said outside the Union building that the society’s invitation to speak was “a stunt. The people of Oxford don’t want this extreme right-wing racist from France given a platform here.” …

This video is called Student speaks against Le Pen speech.

But Annie Teriba, a history and politics student, said she was disgusted that the Union’s invitation meant Le Pen could “now go back to France and say she has been invited to speak at Oxford university. That is the kind of legitimacy that is allowing her and her abhorrent party to become acceptable.”

This video is called Le Pen being sped away in a police van.

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13 thoughts on “Protests against French National Front fuehrer at Oxford University

  1. It’s a shame students don’t realise that by association they may be suspected of being fellow travelers of Le Pen’s. That invitation taints the Oxford Union unless whatever speech she gave was greeted with derision. But it’s quite right that she can now claim some kind of legitimacy in her own Country from receiving such an invitation and the speech going ahead as it did.
    I’m horrified to think that her kind of politics may have a place amongst our young.

    • Yes, indeed. And, to make things worse, the Oxford Union executive also gave Fueherin Le Pen privileges which they don’t give to other people whom they invite. Usually, at Oxford Union, they invite a supporter of one view, who then has to debate a supporter of the opposite view. However, yesterday evening, Le Pen had all the speaking time for herself, without an opposing debater.

      • So, the Oxford Union executive may defend inviting Le Pen, saying it was only to ‘stimulate debate’; while, in practice, Le Pen being the only speaker, it was a very one-sided ‘debate’.

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