‘His views will not be tolerated on campus’: Here’s what went down at the Anti Jacob Rees-Mogg protest
UoB students exercised their right to freedom of speech as Rees-Mogg visits the university
"Solidarity forever because the union makes us strong" was just one of the chants heard today, as societies such as Women's Association, Birmingham Socialist Students, University of Birmingham LGBTQ Association among others, joined together to form a completely non-violent protest against the visit of Jacob Rees-Mogg to the University of Birmingham.
Rees-Mogg was a guest speaker for the university's Conservative Society, which caused a lot of controversy due to his extreme right-wing views. Whereby, protestors made it clear that these views would not be tolerated at the university.
"The main reason for protesting is to show students that this is not the norm and that his views will not be tolerated on campus. It makes us feel unsafe that these views are being harboured in a place where we have come to study".
How do you respond to remarks concerning Rees-Mogg's right to freedom of speech?
"We respect the fact that he has the right to speak here. If he is allowed to speak here under the premise of free speech, then we are allowed to protest".
Lily Branchett (far right), a member of the Birmingham Socialist Students Society, expressed her reasons for protesting today: "He [Rees-Mogg] has persistently voted against LGBTQ, against women, against asylum seekers and immigrants, against the disabled and we are exercising our right to show that we do not stand for it on our campus".
The protest created a great sense of solidarity amongst the people involved as Lily claims: "We each have our own individual reasons for being here, but we are working together to show that we won't stand for it".
Sam Witts, a member of the Socialist Students Society took to the stage to claim: "We are here to show that we are completely and unequivocally opposed to the things he says. The fact that he does not hide his racism or his homophobia means that people admire him and so we have every single right to not hide our hatred of his ideas".
"If he is proud of his legacy, then we can be equally as proud as ours".