Student leader suffers anti-Semitism over fee hikes

Rise in tuition fees triggers anti-Semitic epithets against University of Mancehster student Aaron Porter.

By JONNY PAUL
January 31, 2011 05:44
1 minute read.
aaron porter

aaron porter . (photo credit: Courtesy)

LONDON – A student leader was rescued by police at a protest in Manchester on Saturday after he was surrounded and subjected to anti-Semitic abuse by angry protesters.

Protesters screamed “Tory Jew” and “Tory Jew scum” at the president of the National Union of Students Aaron Porter during a protest against the rise in tuition fees, a decision made by the Conservative- Liberal Democrat coalition government that has led to a number of riots in central London in recent months.

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There were also calls for him to resign.

Aaron Porter, 25, had been due to address the rally.

At one stage, Porter was surrounded by demonstrators who broke away from the main protest outside the University of Manchester campus.

He was rescued by police who led him to safety and advised him not to address the rally.

Witnesses reported that he was visibly shaken.

“Just before the march started, I was surrounded by a particularly vicious minority of protesters more intent on shouting threatening and racist abuse at me rather than focusing on the issues,” Porter said in an e-mail to NUS supporters.

“Instead of standing together and fighting the cuts, they instead chose to pursue me along Manchester’s Oxford Road and drive me away from the start of the march.

“As a result, under the strong advice of the police, I had to withdraw myself from the rally,” he said.

“[I] will not back down to intimidation, and certainly not to racial abuse. We need unity to win for students,” Porter tweeted on Sunday.

Police arrested around 20 people after and during the protest, and have launched an investigation into the incident involving Porter.

Writing in The Times on Monday, Porter condemned the anti-Semitic chants.

“Before I was able to speak to the rally of thousands, a small group of people started to chant abuse to try to intimidate me, and there were audible anti-Semitic comments,” he said. “Racism is something that student activists have been fighting to eliminate for decades and this was a sobering reminder that there was still work to do.”


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