September 07, 2019
An MP has said she was too frightened to speak at a rally in Parliament Square as two groups of pro and anti-Brexit protesters clashed.
MP Frightened To Speak As Pro And Anti-Brexit Protesters Clash On Parliament Square
Anna Soubry, who is against Britain leaving the EU, had been scheduled to speak at the March for Change demonstration in London on Saturday.
However shortly before the event, Soubry told organisers she was too frightened to speak due to intimidation from counter-protests held by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA).
“I don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s awful but there’s also a side of me that thinks that this is our country,” the MP - and leader of the Independent Group for Change - told the PA news agency. 
“I’m a parliamentarian and I have a right to speak and I shouldn’t be frightened but it’s very, very, very disturbing, and I’m very frightened actually.”
After consulting with the police and protest organisers, the MP left the rally, telling officers she did not want to cause additional issues for them as they monitored both events.
Other speakers still scheduled to speak at the event include Green Party co-leader Sian Berry and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
Around 200 people came out in support of the DFLA’s pro-Brexit demonstration.
When members of the anti-Brexit group March for Change began to set up for a rally of their own, some members of the DFLA approached and began shouting.
A beer can was thrown towards about ten people from the March for Change protest, before police on horseback intervened.
Police knew about both protests prior to Saturday.A blimp in the shape of Boris Johnson had been set to fly at the March for Change, scheduled to begin in London at 2pm.
However after the altercation with the DFLA, March for Change organisers told the PA news agency the blimp would not fly as it was likely to become a target.
Tom Brufatto, one of the directors of the March for Change, said the protesters were there to “demonstrate peacefully and defend our democracy”.
“We have been attacked three times. We respect people’s right to protest but we do not respect people’s rights to intimidate and be aggressive,” he said.
“It’s very disappointing that because of the aggression we have received today even before getting started, we have had to send the Boris blimp home because we feared it was going to be used as an excuse for violence against our supporters.
“We hope that despite the disruption that we are still able to prove an interesting and big event for our supporters.”
Across the UK and Europe, 35 other events are being held at the same time, including a pro-democracy protest in Berlin.
The DFLA, derived from the Football Lads Alliance (FLA), describes itself as an “anti-extremist” movement but has increasingly become associated with far-right politics.
Last year, the Premier League warned its clubs about reported attempts by the FLA to bring discriminatory banners and flags into stadiums, according to the BBC.
The Times also reported that the group’s supporters displayed banners attacking Islam.Related... Cross-Party Group Of MPs 'Preparing Legal Challenge' Against Prime Minister I'm A Tory Moderate, And Right Now Our Party Is A Laughing Stock.
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