Police step up security amid controversial talks planned for Bristol University tonight

Disruption is expected at Bristol University tonight (Tuesday, May 3) as two controversial events are planned. Actor-turned-culture warrior Laurence Fox is due to appear for a demonstration dubbed the ‘War On Woke’, meanwhile a protest against an event by a gender critical campaign group is also taking place.

Laurence Fox is due to speak at the Tyndall Lecture Theatre alongside Martin Daubney, the deputy leader of his political group the Reclaim Party. Martin said on Twitter: “TONIGHT 6.30pm: Myself & @LozzaFox launch the #WarOnWoke at @BristolUni. Woke is a virus that is destroying Britain & oppresses the working classes. Time to fight back! We’ve already been told we may need an armed police escort, so might get spicy.”

A second protest is due to take place at the Wills Memorial Building tonight at 6pm, against an event held by Womens Place UK, a women’s rights group which has come under fire for its stance on trans rights. It is due to hold an event at 7pm, called: “A Woman’s Place Is With Women: Feminism, Birth and Motherhood.”

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Critics of Woman’s Place UK argue that the campaign seeks to limit trans people’s rights and dismisses the validity of some trans people’s gender identity. The group has been pushing for the government to consult more widely about changes to the Gender Recognition Act, that would allow people to legally self-identify as a man or a woman without medical approval.

Tonight’s event is being chaired by feminist PHD student Raquel Rosario Sanchez, who recently made headlines after failing to prove the university allowed her to be bullied by trans rights activists. She sued the University for negligence, breach of contract and sex discrimination, after claiming it failed to protect her from a “hate campaign.” But a judge dismissed her claims, saying the university had not failed in its duty of care.

Trans rights activists outside the Wills Memorial Building
(Image: Paul Gillis/BristolLive)

Responding to news of a protest planned outside the event venue, the group’s co-founder Kiri Tunks said: “We are aware of a planned protest of our meeting tonight in Bristol. We support the right of peaceful protest, but not to intimidate. We expect the rights of all to be upheld, including the rights of women to meet to discuss feminism, birth and motherhood.”

The university and police say they are putting security measures in place. Speaking of the Laurence Fox event, a spokesperson from the University of Bristol said: “We’re aware of tonight’s event and have ensured appropriate security is in place.”

Meanwhile Avon and Somerset Police released a statement regarding the second protest. It said on Twitter: “We’re aware of a private event tonight at Wills Memorial Building and a protest against it. We’ve spoken with the university to understand its security arrangements so people can freely attend, while the right to peaceful protest is respected. Officers will be monitoring.”

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