A campaign of harassment, abuse and threats has failed to prevent an event with Chris Williamson MP. A total of three separate venues cancelled bookings for a discussion about socialism and inequality in Brighton.The first cancellation was by Brighthelm Church and Community Centre, after an intervention from Labour MP Peter Kyle. The second cancellation followed ‘abuse’ and ‘threats’, directed at the Holiday Inn staff in Brighton.
In order to avoid a repeat of the interventions, abuse and threats, event organiser Greg Hadfield told The Canary on 7 August, he would keep the third venue secret until the last minute. However, The Canary has since learned that the third venue, Friends Meeting House owned by Quakers, also ended up pulling out. But in a victory for free speech and anti-racism the event still went ahead.
An “open-air” meeting
Williamson previously toldThe Canary the event would go ahead even if it was to be held in the “open air”. And on 8 August, that’s precisely what happened:
All forms of antisemitism, like all forms of racism, are a very real scourge on our societies and must be defeated. However, it appears the cancellation followed “threats of violence” against Friends House. An email posted online, from the head of communications of Quakers in Britain, said they will be issuing a statement “over the weekend or shortly after”.
Greenstein ended by saying his “lasting impression” was that “this was a historical meeting which defied the establishment which tried to shut the meeting down”. The fact that this event has withstood three separate venue cancellations is testament to the fact that true advocates for democratic change refuse to be cowed.
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