Protestors led by Peter Tatchell storm stage during Jeremy Corbyn speech
Peter Tatchell has led a group of protestors to disrupt a speech by Jeremy Corbyn in order to demand that he speak out over the war in Syria.
The veteran gay rights activist shouted over the Labour leader, who initially tried to stop the interruption before looking on awkwardly as protestors lined the stage. They brandished placards which read “Step up and demand action in Syria” and “Sanction Russia for war crimes”.
Tatchell addressed the cameras, saying: “What is happening in Aleppo is a modern-day Guernica. We haven’t heard the leader of the Labour party speak out enough to demand UK air drops to besieged civilians who are dying in their thousands.
“Hundreds of thousands of lives are at risk. We expect the leader of the Labour party to speak out and demand a vote in parliament on UK air drops”, he added.
Shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti rushed to Corbyn’s side, and could be heard whispering “Just let them do this”.
Corbyn then appeared confused about his own party’s response to the conflict, as he was caught on microphone asking colleagues “When did we condemn the bombing?”
He then returned to the rostrum to attempt to clarify Labour’s stance, saying: “In response to the point that Peter made, Emily Thornberry [the shadow foreign secretary] has made it absolutely clear that we do think aid should be given to people in Aleppo, we do think the bombing should end, we do think there should be a ceasefire, we do think there should be a political solution”.
The embattled Labour leader was repeatedly heckled from the audience, with Tatchell continuing to demand he do more to condemn the Russian regime, which is currently propping up Bashar al-Assad’s brutal dictatorship in Syria.
The speech at Westminster’s Central Hall was initially intended to raise the issue of women’s inequality.
Former Labour prime minister Tony Blair condemned Corbyn in June for his inaction over Syria, saying “I’m accused of being a war criminal for removing Saddam Hussein—who by the way was a war criminal—and yet Jeremy is seen as a progressive icon as we stand by and watch the people of Syria barrel-bombed, beaten and starved into submission and do nothing”.