Protest at Oxford University over Marine Le Pen’s visit to debating society

More than 200 demonstrators are set to gather at Oxford University on Thursday to protest the visit of Marine Le Pen, the president of French right-wing party Front National, according to the protesters’ Facebook event page.

Le Pen, who has been accused of stoking Islamophobia after attacks in Paris last month, is due to speak at the Oxford Union, the university’s prestigious debating society, at 17:00 GMT.

“Demonstrate – No to Fascist Marine Le Pen at the Oxford Union! Oxford Union – rescind the invitation!” the demonstrators said on the Facebook page.

The message on the page said that Le Pen’s invitation to make a speech at the Oxford Union only promoted and legitimized racism and fascism in society.

“We will demonstrate to argue that fascists should never be allowed a platform,” Unite Against Fascism joint secretary Weyman Bennett was quoted as saying in the Facebook post.

He expressed his strong opposition to Le Pen’s visit, adding that she once called the Holocaust a “mere detail of history.”

Oxford Union is a debating society in Oxford founded in 1823 as a platform for discussion and debate. The union largely draws its membership from the University of Oxford.

Le Pen is known for her views that immigration into France should be drastically reduced. In January, following attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, she suggested a referendum on the introduction of the death penalty in the country. –