Pro-Life = Risk to Life

Outside of the Home office was a crowd of hundreds of people. All stood there to oppose an event and a march. A march organised by an Anti Abortion group called March For Life. Their aim was to “ to stand up for the right to life of unborn children”. 

The plan of the event was to march from the Emmanuel Centre (Which was on the opposite side of the road to the home office) to Parliament Square. However, at the start of the march the opposing protestors quickly threw a wrench into the works. These protestors, made up from a large mix of organisations like Feminist Fightback, Act Up, Brazil Matters, Women’s Strike Assembly and a large range more, marched to the head of the March For Life march. 

One of the Organisers from Feminist Fightback, a “Anarchist, anti capitalist” organisation said to us that the March For Life organisation expected to “march unopposed”. And they wanted to stand up against some of their policies. As there are heavy links to the movements in the US and the rollback of reproductive rights in the US.

When pressed on whether a rollback of abortion rights was likely in the UK. They said it was a “Pivotal moment” and that while there is support, it was being eroded by the far right and it needed to be defended. Also pointing to countries like the US and Poland. 

At the start of the day at around 10:30, there were many coaches parking and letting off large numbers of pro life protesters.Including one who told us that he came from Worcester. It is possible that these coaches were organised by telegram groups used by March For Life and Turning Point UK in order to inflate the size of the crowd by bringing people in who weren’t local to the area. 

Later on (around 11:30), more Pro Choice protesters started assembling. Until at 13:00 we saw it reach its largest size. Unfortunately, the picture shown below barely shows half of the crowd, due to the angle it was taken at. 

There were large numbers of people from numerous backgrounds and they were there to make some noise. Lots of drummers and chanting, making it impossible to drown out the noise they were making. Including the Samba Sisters (Pictured Below). 

And it was a tactic that was very effective in making it impossible at points for the pro life protesters to shout it down (As they did not bring any drums to their own protest). 

However at 13:30. The March for Life march was due to start, But all of a sudden, the counter protesters marched in front of them. 

After much chanting and drumming from the pro choice protest, it led to one of the pro life protesters running at the crowd, most likely to attack the crowd violently. However they were quickly stopped by the police. And dragged off to the side: 

A little while later and the March for Life protesters were forced to retreat back up the other side of the road to take a detour to get to their intended destination. Following this, one protestor, identified to be Nick Tenconi of Turning Point UK started riling up the crowd as the main March had retreated, calling the crowd communists.

We spoke to one of the protestors who shouted down Nick as he was riling up the crowd. 

When we spoke to Niamh, she said there was a “lot of hate”. She pointed to anti abortion movements around the world causing a rollback to abortion rights. And that once the Tory government is “done with LGBT rights rollbacks” they would most likely then target women’s rights. 

When I asked if abortion rights would be safer under a Labour government. She was sceptical, And said that they had similar views to the Tories.

After the pro life march had to make an embarrassing detour to Parliament Square, Some of the protestors went there to oppose it. 

Unfortunately we weren’t there to report what happened. However, Another protester did take a photo (Check out her instagram here) and told us what happened. 

According to Lily. When she went to the Parliament Square protest, the pro choice protesters proceeded to stand in front of the stage that was set up by the march for life organisers. And tried to disrupt the people on stage. However after being surrounded by the march for life protestors, they then moved to a safe distance to then continue protesting until the event was over. 

In conclusion, given that March for Life was forced to be redirected, I would consider the counter-protest a success. It showed the pro-life crowd that they will not go unopposed.