Controversial anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson delivered a speech today at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park, London. The event at 3pm drew a large crowd, but went ahead largely without incident. Speakers Corner is historically known as a place where people can exercise their right to freedom of speech, within the bounds of UK law. The speech was written by Martin Sellner, leader of Austrian nationalist movement Génération Identitaire.
— Tommy Robinson 🇬🇧 (@TRobinsonNewEra) March 16, 2018
Sellner had intended to deliver the speech himself, but upon entering the UK last week, was detained without charge along with his American partner, right wing Youtuber Brittany Pettibone, for around three days in the Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre near Heathrow Airport. On their release both were deported, possibly on the orders of Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Another right wing broadcaster and personality Lauren Southern from Canada was also detained without charge and deported from the UK within days. Southern was held under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 under which silence is a criminal offence.
— Lauren Southern (@Lauren_Southern) March 14, 2018
Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West) founder Lutz Bachmann has also just been barred from the UK upon trying to make his own speech today at Hyde Park. A Home Office spokesperson said the “Border Force has the power to refuse entry to an individual if it is considered that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good.”
Robinson’s speech is widely regarded as a response to these deportations and new hate speech laws which legislate not just on actions, but the thoughts and intentions behind them. You can read about the Metropolitan Police’s new approach to “hate crime” here.