Current Affairs

Birmingham school protest critics called ‘snowflakes’

Reiss Smith June 10, 2019
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Mother outside Anderton Park school in Birmingham

Protesters outside Anderton Park primary school in Birmingham.

Critics of the Birmingham school protests have been labelled “snowflakes” during a High Court hearing which resulted in a fresh ban against the demonstrators being issued.

John Randall, speaking on behalf of the protest organisers, accused Birmingham City Council of painting a “misleading and exaggerated” picture of the demonstrations, which have been taking place for over two months.

“This suggests the demonstrations have crossed the line into unlawful or non-peaceful, when in fact it would require something of a snowflake sensitivity to regard them as terrifying or threatening,” he said on Monday (June 10), according to BirminghamLive.

“It would require a snowflake sensitivity to regard them as threatening demonstrations.”

—John Randall, representing the Birmingham school protesters

He argued that “any child has a right to education but that… must not become state indoctrination, as set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.”

LGBT lesson protests ‘anti-social’

Jonathan Manning QC, representing the council, said that the Birmingham school protests have become “anti-social and unacceptable.”

He said that at the largest of the protests, Shakeel Afsar—one of three named defendants in ban—introduced “another person from another part of the country who made several statements alleging people in the school were paedophiles and pursuing a paedophile agenda.”

“These are allegations made without substance and without any relation to reality,” he said, according to BirminghamLive.

Protestors against LGBT lessons outside Anderton Park Primary school, Birmingham
Protesters outside Anderton Park Primary School. (Alum Rock Community Forum)

Randall acknowledged that this was “a word my clients have publicly disowned in connection with this issue.”

At the end of the hearing, Mr Justice Warby QC ruled to instate a new exclusion zone around Anderton Park Primary School until a full hearing can be held in late July.

Under the exclusion, Afsar, two other named defendants and “persons unknown” will be banned from protesting outside of the school.

Last month, Birmingham City Council won a temporary injunction which had been due to end. Warby overturned this prior ruling, agreeing that the council had “failed to place all of the relevant evidence to the judge during the initial hearing,” but maintained that an exclusion zone should still apply.

The judge said that he finds it likely Birmingham City Council “will establish at trial some of the protesting has gone beyond lawful limits and strayed into harassing, alarming or distressing conduct, through its persistence, timing and context.”

West Midlands mayor calls for an end to ‘homophobic’ school protests

The West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has called for an end to the “upsetting” protests.

Street said that as a gay man himself, he had thought homophobia was a “non-issue in our city,” but had been left in “disbelief” at the leaflets and banners being distributed by the protesters.

“You look at what’s being said and it’s really upsetting but it is actually ultimately homophobic and it is illegal and it has to stop now,” he told the BBC on Friday (June 7).

Street reiterated the often-stated point that the equality curriculum does not include sex education. Simply, he explained, it teaches “that society contains different types of people and mustn’t be too obsessed by the LGBT element of this debate because the principle at stake is much broader than that.”

Related topics: England

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