Demonstrators with opposing views on trans rights kept apart by police in Leeds

Groups with opposing views on trans rights were kept apart by police officers in Leeds city centre.

Dozens of people who attended a rally organised by anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull – better known as Posie Parker – faced off with counter demonstrators from the group Leeds Queers Against Fascism, in Park Square on Saturday afternoon.

West Yorkshire Police said “containment tactics were used for a short period” at the park to “ensure that there was no confrontation between the groups”.

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Several women spoke at the rally, titled Let Women Speak, and claimed that men should not be allowed to legally change their gender and access “female only” facilities like toilets and changing rooms.

Police watch over demonstrators at Park Square in LeedsPolice watch over demonstrators at Park Square in Leeds
Police watch over demonstrators at Park Square in Leeds

But they were accused of spreading harmful “trans-exclusionary rhetoric” and fear mongering by the counter demonstrators.

Jessica Wright, who marched with Leeds Queers Against Fascism, said: “We were showing up in solidarity with trans loved ones and to show that trans people are not alone.

“We had something like 30 police immediately surrounding us, but we were just a fairly small group standing, chanting and occasionally singing.”

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Demonstrators who wanted to leave the park were told they would be arrested if they returned to the city centre without a reasonable excuse, as a dispersal order had been issued under s35 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

It came as hundreds of protestors were taking part in a separate protest in Leeds, calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.