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UEA Students Stop UKIP From Speaking On Campus Following Petition

28/11/2014 12:33 GMT | Updated 28/11/2014 12:59 GMT
PA

A petition to stop a UKIP MP from speaking on campus because students said they felt intimidated and degraded by the political party has been successful, after the event was cancelled.

UKIP's Norwich South candidate Steve Emmens and his party chairman Eric Masters had been invited to speak by University of East Anglia's Political, International and Social Studies society.

But the event, which was due to be held last night, was cancelled after a petition was launched by student Timea Suli, who said:

"We are asking UEA to cancel the event and organise it at a location away from the University campus. This is in order to protect students who feel intimidated or degraded by the party."

Douglas Carswell, one of UKIP's two MPs and a UEA alumni, slammed the decision to cancel the talk. The Clacton MP is due to speak at the university early next year.

Liam McCafferty, a UEA student union officer, said the talk was cancelled as proper procedure wasn't followed, and then added the talk was cancelled because student members did not feel safe.

Suli released a statement following her success denying the petition, which received more than 1,150 signatures, was an assault on the freedom of speech.

"This is a debate about who has the privilege of freedom of speech, and we often find that it is white, educated, able-bodied, heterosexual, cis-gender men who dominate our scene of free speech.

"This is not freedom.Today demonstrated how many people want a right to political speech. Today we demonstrated that minority groups will no longer be treated as white noise."

UKIP’s Eric Masters said something had gone "badly wrong at UEA".

A statement from UEA student union said an internal investigation was underway.

The news follows the co-founder and former leader of the English Defence League speaking at Oxford University on Wednesday night against a backdrop of protests over his appearance - and said he was unable to speak freely as he had been heavily censored by police.

Tommy Robinson explained that the talk hegave the Oxford Union "was not the one I wanted to give".

oxford union

Robinson says he was censored by police

Four days prior to his appearance, the 31-year-old had been handed a list by probation officers detailing topics he could not speak about, and which would land him back in prison if he failed to cooperate.

Speaking for an hour to around 250 students, he discussed his anger at the refusal to report criminal activity or prosecute criminals for fear of being labelled racist or Islamophobic.

"The debate has been stifled for too long. Fear paralysed Rotherham’s police force, the media and the politicians. The police facilitated the rape of children for 20 years because they were afraid of being called racist.

"We have a two-tier police force that treats crimes within the muslim community differently.

"Fear has paralysed the police...If the police can take away my freedoms, they can do it to you."

Around 20 protesters shouted abuse at students as they arrived to hear Robinson speak.

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