Marine le Pen has caused outrage by accepting an invitation to give a talk at Oxford.
The talk, which is scheduled to go ahead on Thursday afternoon, has been met with fierce opposition by students, who believe that the right-wing French Front National leader should not be given a platform.
Le Pen's opponents cite her "Islamophobia" as a reason she should not be allowed to speak.
"Giving a platform to fascist and racist speakers only promotes and legitmises racism and fascism in wider society," Oxford Unite Against Fascism said in a statement on their Facebook page.
"The Union must reverse the decision to invite this notorious Islamophobe," added Unite Against Fascism's Weyman Bennett." The Front National follow in ex leader, Jean Marie Le Pen's footsteps in their racism and fascism. Jean Marie Le Pen once called the Holocaust a 'mere detail of history'. The FN is still composed of such fascists.
"We will demonstrate to argue that fascists should never be allowed a platform."
In pictures: Extremists in the EU
In pictures: Extremists in the EU
1/6 France: Marine le Pen
Marine Le Pen, 45, took over the Front National (FN), the party that her father founded, in 2011. He himself described her as “a big, healthy, blonde girl, an ideal physical specimen." She claims to have cleaned up the FN and succeeded in pushing her anti-European, anti-euro and anti-immigration agenda into the EU political mainstream
2/6 Germany: Udo Voigt
He will be the first German neo-Nazi to enter the European Parliament. The former army officer, born in 1952, was jailed in 1995 for inciting racial hatred. Formerly the leader of the far right National Democratic Party (NPD), Voigt was convicted in 2009 after he was caught handing out flyers at the World Cup which argued that a black player was not entitled to play for Germany, whose national team – the literature argued – should be made up only of white players.
3/6 Denmark: Morten Messerschmidt
Leader of the Danish People’s Party, which won 27 per cent of the vote. His party has rammed 20 laws relating to immigrants and asylum-seekers through the Danish parliament, giving it the most anti-foreigner legislation in Europe. His party calls Islam “a fascist ideology” and rails against “East European criminal gangs”. One party strategist said “blood ties” to Denmark should be required for citizenship, though the statement was quickly retracted.
4/6 Hungary: Krisztina Morvai
A senior member of Jobbik, the anti-Semitic and anti-Roma party on Hungary’s far right wing. In 2009, she attracted international publicity after declaring: “So-called proud Hungarian Jews should go back to playing with their little circumcised dicks.” In 2009, she cancelled an interview with a British newspaper, declaring in tones of outrage: “I am a decent politician and the mother of three children, yet you in the west keep portraying me as a Nazi and a Fascist.”
5/6 Italy: Mario Borghezio
MEP for Italy’s notoriously racist Northern League, he has relentlessly attacked the nation’s first black cabinet minister, Cecile Kyenge, minister for integration, claiming she would import ‘tribal traditions’ into the Italian government. Other elected members in the party called her “an orang-utan” and suggested that someone should rape her, so she would understand how the victims of Somali rapists felt. He attracted attention by lobbying for the creation of an EU archive of UFO sightings.
6/6 Greece: Eleftherios Synadinos
Fabulously mustachioed retired lieutenant-general in the Greek army, he was one of Golden Dawn’s top candidates in the European elections, at which the overtly neo-Nazi party obtained more than 9 per cent of the vote. With its black-shirted assault squads, the Hitler photos and the party’s swastika-inspired logo, it has been accused of being a criminal organisation. Its website declares: “We aren’t the quiet birds of peace time, we are birds of the storm and the hurricane.”
A petition has been signed by over 300 Oxford students and staff, and Labour councillor John Tanner has called on the Oxford Union to revoke Le Pen's invitation. Tanner branded her talk as a "stunt".
He said: "The Oxford Union debating club should not be giving a platform to extreme right-wing politicians like Marine Le Pen."
"I urge the Oxford Union to cancel the invitation," he told the Oxford Mail. "Oxford’s tradition of tolerance, racial harmony and internationalism is too precious to be jeopardised by this irresponsible stunt.”
Union president Lisa Wehden told the Oxford Student that Le Pen's performance was not "an endorsement of any particular agenda. We invite no speakers who do not accept the right of our members to question them".
Le Pen's talk is due to take place at the Oxford Union Society Debating Chamber.Reuse content