Chaos ensued at the University of the West of England during a visit from Conservative Member of Parliament Jacob Rees-Mogg, with masked protesters breaking into a lecture theatre, whereupon they attempted to disrupt an event Rees-Mogg was set to speak at. Rees-Mogg was appearing at an event organised by the Bristol Politics and International Relations Society. Following the disruption, some in attendance responded to the masked protesters, leading to some ugly scenes. Check out the video footage of the confrontation below, uploaded to YouTube by Raheem Kassam.
As seen, it appears that the protesters arrived in the lecture hall via the back doors. From there, slurs were directed at Rees-Mogg, with eyewitness accounts suggesting he was labelled a ‘Nazi’ and ‘racist’. Some in attendance responded to the protesters, with a scuffle taking place, and it appears that punches were thrown in the ensuing chaos. Rees-Mogg doesn’t appear to be hit by any of the punches being thrown, and in the aftermath, downplayed the drama of the event.
Rees-Mogg has attracted some controversy for being prominently behind the ‘leave’ campaign in terms of the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union. This is another event that calls into question how much freedom of speech is being limited in some cases. Just last week, a public lecture at Durham University was invaded by protesters, who staged a ‘die-in’. A lecture at Warwick University also attracted controversy, with it alleged that Jews were ‘barred’ from the event. However it doesn’t appear that the protesters involved actually were UWE students. The University responded with the statement below.
- Montpelier in Bristol Named the UK’s Most ‘Hip’ Area!
- Revealed: Library Fine Spend for UWE
- 14 Things That Will Happen in Student Halls
- The 10 Types of People You’ll Meet on a Group Project
The event would eventually continue. Protesters were removed after University security descended upon the event to restore order. Rees-Mogg then conducted a talk for the society event. Police had also been called to the venue. Fortunately, it doesn’t appear that anyone was significantly harmed in the event, though this seems to be a good case for added security at events of this nature. But all parties must appreciate the value and importance of freedom of speech on campuses.