Le Pen Protest Outside Union

A large number of protesters gather outside the Union to show their opposition to Marine Le Pen’s appearance this afternoon.

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Scroll down for video footage of Le Pen’s arrival.

Around 200 people have gathered outside the Cambridge Union this afternoon in protest against speaker Marine Le Pen.

The protest began at around 2pm, as protesters slowly trickled in outside the Cambridge Union building.

By 2.30pm, the protest was well under way, as Cambridge Unite Against Fascism (CUAF) joined the protesting ranks. Other protesters included students from Goldsmith’s University and students from Norwich, as well as UAF representatives from London.

Despite the long-rumoured existence of a secret passage, Le Pen entered through the Union’s front entrance, with a number of police and bodyguards. A large police presence (over 50 officers) prevented any protesters from causing any real damage.

With Le Pen inside, the protest dispelled, but around 50 people returned and gathered once more outside the front entrance at 3.30pm. Chants of “Le Pen – Never Again!” rang up and down Bridge Street.

A number of protesters spoke via a megaphone, including one elderly female holocaust survivor, who labelled Le Pen a “new symbol of fascism” in Europe.

Police were met with jeers as they repeatedly attempted to prevent protesters from spilling out onto the street. After one policeman shouted a warning to the crowd, the elderly lady could be heard to mutter “fuck off”, which was met with applause from the surrounding protesters.

Student activist Conrad Landin then took charge of the megaphone, thanking protesters for the impressive turnout and criticising the Union’s decision to allow a platform for speakers like Le Pen. “We hear about freedom of speech but we never hear about the freedom this Union has to invite who it wants…” (and presumably, by insinuation, to not invite certain people), he said.

“People say that Fascism isn’t a threat in the UK, that it isn’t a threat in Cambridge…well look who’s here today,” he continued.

He added scathing words about Mme Le Pen herself, who he believes to be representative of a “vile, fascist, Islamophobic ideology that has no place in Cambridge.”

Protesters are rumoured to be preparing an attempt to block Le Pen from leaving the Union later this afternoon.

More to follow.