Security guards have reportedly been hospitalised after masked protesters forced the abandonment of an event featuring an Israeli speaker.
Video footage showed a gang of around six youths interrupt a panel discussion at King’s College London, hosted by the Libertarian Society.
Protesters unfurled banners, including one promoting anti-fascist group Antifa, before leaping onto the stage where speakers were located. The footage shows violent scuffles.
Among the guests was Israeli Yaron Brook, chairman of the board of the Ayn Rand Institute, and controversial YouTuber Carl Benjamin.
A Libertarian society spokesperson said there were “threats to the moderator”, and a after the event, said “number of KCL security guards are on their way to hospital after being assaulted”.
The society posted a statement on Facebook criticising university authorities for “failing to prevent violent and masked activists storming the stage”, adding that “windows have been smashed and gas bombs lit outside campus.”
A police statement said they were called “to reports of a disruption” at the university, where “a group of people are believed to have forced their way into a building and set off fire alarms and a smoke bomb.”
They added that there were no arrests or reported injuries
In a statement, King’s College London University said that “the police attended and we are fully co-operating with their investigation. We absolutely condemn the use of violent protest in any situation.”
They added, that events on campus “should be able to take place without fear of violence or intimidation. King’s takes its responsibilities to provide a safe environment for free, peaceful and respectful dialogue very seriously. The university and Students’ Union will be reviewing the incident to decide on appropriate action to be taken.”
Momin Saqib, President of King’s College London Students Union said, “I am appalled by the acts that were perpetrated”, adding “I strongly respect and encourage the right to freedom of speech… It is unfortunate that the event was marred by violence by people who took an extreme and an unacceptable approach. My heart goes out to the guards who got physically and mentally hurt and I wish them a speedy recovery.”
Tamara Berens, Campus Associate of Camera (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting ) was at the event. Speaking to Jewish News, she said it was co-organised “by KCL Action Palestine, justified because Yaron Brook is Israeli.”
She said: “It sickens me that even after security guards, students and speakers were assaulted, far-left students from King’s were seen holding their banners up high and continuing their protest”, before calling for those involved to “face the consequences of their actions”.
The Zionist Federation condemned the “scenes of violence, disruption and dissent”.
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