Transgender-rights activists intimidated women attending a U.K. feminists' event while police stood by and did nothing, a journalist said.
Activist group Queer AF Brighton descended upon the Woman's Place UK event Monday, claiming the meeting was spreading transphobia, the Daily Mail reported.
Journalist Julie Bindel tweeted video of flag-waving protestors outside the feminists' event:
State of this outside the venue where #WPUKLab19 were meeting to talk about women's sex-based rights, a load of tra… https://t.co/0xaTKvkznh— Julie Bindel (@Julie Bindel)1569272815.0
Bindel noted the "load of trans-activist misogynists screaming, shouting and banging on the window while the police did absolutely nothing."
'Like we were under siege'
Ali Ceesay, who helped run the feminists' meeting, told the Daily Mail that "100-plus protestors ... were shouting, chanting and blocking people's entrance. One young woman had a full blown panic attack inside the building. It was terrifying. They were banging on panes of glass; it was hideous, and the police didn't stop them. The policing was a joke. We also had some of our attendees have liquid thrown in their face. It felt very much like we were under siege."
Here's what it sounded like inside the event space:
JUST GOT IN from @Womans_Place_UK #WPUKLab19. Staggered by the disrespect shown by trans activists drowning out the… https://t.co/V5QXTeCbgc— onjali rauf (@onjali rauf)1569278600.0
What did Queer AF have to say?
Queen AF called Women's Place UK a "hate group" in a Facebook post Tuesday and defended the protest, saying members "marched to the venue to make noise outside of the building" and that "WPUK members were rude and aggressive to the small group of protesters that stood handing out counter fliers."
The post added that "protesters successfully held noisy space either side of the building for about three hours until the last members departed, sad and frustrated that their meeting was disrupted throughout. This disruption included chants such as: WPUK, are a hate group! You stop the hate group, we'll stop the protest! Hey, hey, ho, ho, transphobia has got to go!"
What did police have to say?
A police spokesperson said in a statement that officers "ensured that those wishing to attend" the meeting "were able to gain access" and that "protest liaison officers spoke with those gathered outside to facilitate this and to reduce the impact that their protest was having on the meeting and the local community," the Daily Mail said.
"We accept that the initial protest was very noisy and officers did engage to seek a reduction in scale and to put a stop to those who were banging on windows in an attempt to disrupt the meeting," police added, according to the outlet, and that "there have been no reports of crimes, no damage to the building, no arrests, and the participants left the meeting without further incident."
Queer AF told the Brighton Argus the women's group running the meeting appropriates feminism and spreads a transphobic message.
But Ceesay — of Women's Place UK — told the Daily Mail that "in law ... we have several protected characteristics. One of those is sex. It's that piece of law that gives women sex-based rights that protects us. There's a push within some of the more extreme LGBT communities to replace sex for a looser definition of gender identity. What this means is we lose our rights under this nefarious and undefinable concept of gender identity — and therefore we lose our women-only services."
The outlet added that conflict between the groups includes whether "gender-neutral" restrooms are acceptable, or if they deny biological females their right to private spaces.