Protestors attempt to shut down conversation on life
A student event at the University of Sydney turned ugly after protestors attacked a pro-life stall, verbally abusing and physically threatening its organisers.
Police were called shortly after the start of the three-hour event that began to descend into chaos after student advocacy group LifeChoice set up a stall on the main campus with a banner ‘Abortion ends a human life. Change my mind’.
Student and LifeChoice Sydney secretary Madeleine Graveleine said the intention was to invite a relaxed forum for discussion seated on the lawn near Eastern Avenue between pro-life and pro-choice students.
Instead, LifeChoice members say their sign and other printed materials was ripped to pieces and thrown at them, a glass smashed to the ground, verbal abuse hurled at them and that at times during the event they were forced to protect themselves from physical attack.
Students’ blogs and social media accounts revealed disturbing and detailed video footage and photos of the confrontation.
“Most protestors didn’t even want to talk about abortion and they got very personal in their insults,” said Ms Graveleine.
Following the event, the University of Sydney’s Women’s Collective published their version of the encounter, saying they had called the “snap protest” in response to “an anti-choice stall”.
“This stall, under the guise of mere philosophical debate, scrutinised the deeply personal decisions of people in crisis, calling into question people’s ability to make decisions about their own bodies,” the statement read.
LifeChoice member Sarah Ryan said the ordeal had been “very intense” at times but it would not deter them for holding outreach events on campus in the future.
“The fact that the university approved our event is encouraging to us, and the security guards who were present, though they were limited in how much support they could provide, were very good,” she said.
A spokesperson for NSW Police confirmed police had been called to the protest but said there were no arrests made.