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Members of Bristol Anti Fascists have since stated online that they disrupted the event because of the politician’s “homophobic and anti abortion beliefs”.
Avon and Somerset Police have launched an investigation, following what they have described as a “public order incident”, and are asking anyone with footage of the scuffle to send it to them to help with their inquiries.
Will Charley of the UWE Student paper Epigram wrote: “Paul Townsley, a member of the audience, claimed that he approached the protestors, at which point a woman stood between him and them, spitting at him.
“At this point, Townsley claims that he pushed the woman in the back, resulting in an outcry that he punched her, which Townsley denies.”
UWE Bristol issued a statement yesterday, which said: “We are continuing to work with the police as they investigate Friday evening’s incident. If any of our students are identified as having participated in the protest we will follow normal University processes, with immediate suspension as a neutral act and investigation through our formal disciplinary procedures. We would draw upon all the available evidence before determining any outcome.
“Following an initial internal review we can confirm that our security staff responded to the incident within two minutes and efficiently managed the situation, which was closed down within five minutes of starting, before police arrived.
“The University has around the clock security and high definition CCTV monitoring across all of our campuses. However, in light of this incident, we are reviewing our security measures including the use of bodycams for all security staff and whether further security measures are required at events where we have external speakers.
“UWE Bristol respects the rights of legal freedom of speech both in society and on our campus and the right to peaceful protest. It is important that different views and perspectives are engaged with, debated and understood in a respectful, civilised democracy.