A British minister has called out anti-transgender activist Posie Parker’s treatment in New Zealand as “terrible” and “completely unacceptable”.
Chris Philp, the United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Fire, told right-wing British television show TalkTV that he supported everybody’s right to protest, “especially women’s right to protest”.
“I think the way that women’s rights have been threatened by the trans movement is deeply concerning to me… I think what happened in New Zealand was terrible,” Philp said.
“I think that lady had every right to express her views in defence of women’s rights. It was a completely legitimate thing to do. The way that she was essentially abused by a baying mob was completely unacceptable.”
Philp has previously said women’s rights and safety “are being jeopardised by the idea that a man can just declare themselves to be a women and be treated as such”.
In a tweet last year he went on to say “we should be respectful of people’s choices, but not to the point of jeopardising others’ rights”.
Philp’s comments about New Zealand come after Parker was escorted out of Auckland’s Albert Park on Saturday after having red juice dumped onto her by a pro-transgender activist.
Parker was in New Zealand as part of a speaking tour. She founded the Standing for Women group, which campaigns against transgender rights.
The protest on Saturday was mostly peaceful, however, scuffles were observed in the crowd between different sides, while Parker was pushed while she was walked out of the park by private security.
Auckland Pride, one of the main supporters of the counter-protest against Parker, said thousands of Auckland had stood “in solidarity with trans communities [and] sent a clear message to Parker that intolerance will not be tolerated here”.
“Auckland Pride unequivocally stands by peaceful protest as a means of counter protest, and does not endorse any physical violence, regardless of the extent of injury caused.”
It said the reason for her departure was that the noise from counter-protesters was “too loud to overcome”.
“We also reject that there was any further physical threat from our community towards Parker. This is a baseless rumour that is being perpetrated by those who feel defeated by the events of today.”
Auckland City District Commander Inspector Grant Tetzlaff on Monday told Newshub that police were at the event on Saturday monitoring it and the counter-protest.
“As soon as it became clear there was a potential safety risk to the Albert Park event speaker, she was escorted from the area by police staff,” he said.
“Police did not make any arrests on the day, but we continue to make enquiries into Saturday’s events.
“This includes a collision between a motorcycle and a pedestrian near Albert Park. Ambulance attendance was not required, and we understand that the pedestrian sought medical advice.
“We are also reviewing CCTV footage and video of the protest posted to social media to determine if any other offending may have occurred.”
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins on Monday said violence shouldn’t be part of protests.
“I don’t believe people should throw things at a protest, whether what they’re throwing is a soup or a brick,” he told reporters during his post-Cabinet press conference.
“Ultimately, the right to free speech does not extend to the right to physical violence, and so I would condemn that, regardless of who’s engaging in that type of activity.”
However, he acknowledged that most people at the protest exercised their right to free speech respectfully.
“I think that is something we should celebrate. As I’ve said, I’ll never support people who resort to violence.”