Protest scenes ‘a disgrace to all the residents of Lewes’

Demonstrators protest against Katie Hopkins at the All Saints Centre in Lewes
Demonstrators protest against Katie Hopkins at the All Saints Centre in Lewes

The fall-out from the abortive Katie Hopkins talk at the Lewes Speakers Festival continued this week.

The appearance by the controversial television personality and columnist at the All Saints Centre was cancelled at the last minute on public safety grounds.

Sussex Police said a crowd of around 100 protesters, some of them masked, had gathered outside the venue.

They said police officers were kicked, eggs were thrown and entry was forced into the building.

Lawrence Flowers, from Lewes, had hoped to hear the talk by Ms Hopkins on Saturday, November 25.

In a letter to the Express, he said of the demonstrators: “The only description for the worst of them is that they are violent, feral thugs, immune to reason, hyped-up on slogans/ ideology, probably alcohol too, and very ready to use force/ intimidation/ threats/ verbal insults and anything else to hand to deny admittance to the venue.

“I found this out first hand, being pushed, pulled, shoved, insulted, threatened.”

Jack Neil, from Ringmer, wrote: “The scenes at Katie Hopkins’ talk were a disgrace to all the residents of Lewes.

“Whether you agree or disagree with what this lady has to say she is entitled to free speech, as we all are in this country.

“We did fight two world wars to ensure this.”

He described it as “mob rule, a few imposing their will over many yet again”.

But Lewes resident Val Simanowitz said describing the demonstration as ‘mob rule’ was “an extremely biased representation of what actually happened and why”.

She conceded there may have been “a few young hotheads” at the demonstration, but said: “The majority of protesters were peaceful placard-holding people from organisations dedicated to human rights, especially for the minorities and refugees whom Katie Hopkins so blatantly condemns.”