EDL founder Tommy Robinson banned from speaking on campus
Brookes Union have shut it down over safety concerns
Controversial speaker and founder of the English Defence League, Tommy Robinson, has been banned from speaking at Oxford Brookes today due to safety concerns.
The talk on freedom of speech has been shut down by the Students’ Union and the police, who liased to term the speech as a risk of “public disorder”.
Over 130 students were set to protest outside Robinson’s talk, and over 200 more had shown interest in the event. The event on Facebook which now reads ‘Cancelled, Say No to Tommy Robinson in Oxford’ included in its description:
‘Tommy Robinson, founding member of the islamophobic far-right English Defense League and a member of the equally racist Pegida, is coming to Oxford on the 8th March (ironically also international women’s day). Show your opposition to fascism and white supremacy by demonstrating outside the venue.”
Chief executive David Whittingham told the Huffington Post: “It was identified that the event posed a risk of public disorder, which the Union did not believe it could effectively mitigate”
“Whilst Brookes Union believes strongly in the principle of freedom of speech, the safety and security of our students is our primary concern.”
Back in 2004, Tommy joined the BNP before founding EDL, and has since departed the protest movement to head up Pegida, who claim to fight ‘Islamisation of the West’.
Robinson has been banned from speaking at four different universities in the last year. He told the Huffington Post that the police are:
“Surrendering free speech to a load of hippy morons. The message that sends is, if people don’t like something, go and smash the place up and you will stop it.”
“What people need to understand is that this tactic is what resulted in Brexit, it is what resulted in Donald Trump. It is what will result in the continued movement to the right.”
“If I am so stupid, as they all keep saying, and my thoughts are wrong, come and expose them.”
Harvir Dillon, head of the Quilliam society and the one who invited Robinson to speak told the Post:
“I invited him to allow him to come on campus and express a viewpoint – perhaps one that people may find disagreeable. Indeed something I might find disagreeable.”
“I wanted the platform to be given to him so that also my fellow students could challenge him on anything they differed in opinion on.”