One arrested after far-right protest erupts outside drag queen’s children event

  • london
  • February 11, 2023
  • Comments Off on One arrested after far-right protest erupts outside drag queen’s children event
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One person was arrested after a far-right group protested against a drag queen reading books about kindness and inclusivity to children.

Members of Patriotic Alternative, a white nationalist group, reportedly lead demonstrations this morning outside a Drag Queen Story Hour UK event at London’s Tate Britain.

Drag Queen Story Hour UK’s programming sees drag performers read to kids in libraries, festivals and schools.

But Patriotic Alternative says it has ‘passionately opposed Drag Queen Story Hour since its arrival in the UK’ and has protested ‘dozens’ of story-tellings, even getting some ‘shut down’.

Protesters held signs reading ‘groomer’ with an image of an LGBTQ Pride flag as well as ‘Leave Our Kids Alone!’ in front of a line of police. Some came wearing t-shirts reading: ‘Groom Dogs, Not Children.’

In response, hundreds of people came holding trans Pride flags and signs reading, ‘Don’t let the far-right divide us’ and ‘Smash Fascism and Racism’ as part of a pro-LGBTQ counter-protest.

‘We protect our kids through acceptance and education, not hate,’ another placard read.

In video footage, one of the counter-protesters chants into a megaphone: ‘What are you so afraid of? It’s just wigs and make-up.’

Award-winning author Aida H Dee, known out of drag as Sab Samuel, was hosting three readings as part of the Tate’s LGBTQ History Month events.

‘Hear fabulous stories in an exciting storytime show from Aida, the first drag artist in Europe to read stories to children in a nursery,’ the event description read, noting that the sessions took place at 11am, 12pm and 2pm.

Dozens of parents and guardians and their children packed the gallery to hear Samuel read.

During the midday event, five ‘haters’ stormed the Tate, Samuel tweeted. ‘They caused a disruption,’ she said, ‘but not to (Drag Queen Story Hour UK). Woop!

‘They made a fuss elsewhere in the building, not where the show was! Show two went swimmingly!’

Samuel said one of the right-wing protesters was arrested for ‘hate speech towards the supporters’.

A Met spokesperson told Metro.co.uk: ‘Officers are at the location. There has been one arrest on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence.

‘This relates to comments made towards a police officer.’

‘Today went fabulously with no disruptions to any show whatsoever!’ Samuel told Metro.co.uk. ‘Over 200 people attended outside the Tate with a large majority being supporters.’

A Tate spokesperson said: ‘Police attended a disturbance outside Tate Britain this morning. The gallery has remained open to visitors throughout the day and all events went ahead as planned.’

The counter-protest was organised by the Transgender Action Block, a trans liberation group, and campaigners from Stand Up To Racism.

Organisers said that Patriotic Alternative members ‘ran away scared’ as they were ‘chased off’ less than an hour into the protests before returning.

Transgender Action Block previously urged supporters to come wearing face masks to hide their identities.

‘Trans protesters have been harassed, doxxed and assaulted at previous events,’ the group said on Instagram. ‘We can’t predict how many transphobes are coming to the event or how dangerous and violent they might be.’

Last year, Samuel took Drag Queen Story Hour UK on the road, touring nearly 70 libraries up and down the UK. At some, anti-LGBTQ protesters met him, barking slurs into megaphones and heckling families entering the venues.

At one session in Reading in July, protesters claiming to be protecting kids left children terrified as they shouted ‘paedo protectors’ and interrupted the reading by shouting and screaming.

‘I think we all need to have a serious discussion with ourselves on why these protests are happening,’ Samuel added.

‘The current government are to answer. Five years we wait for a true ban on LGBTQ conversion therapy.

‘The current government need to either step up or step down. We need a government that will commit to serious LGBTQ education and inclusion in schools.

‘This is the only way to stamp out this type of hate. This current government’s track record on any LGBTQ policy is a joke.

‘They are insultingly under-qualified to run a country.’

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