In Brief

Marine Le Pen: I would abolish open borders

Leader of the Front National tells the Oxford Union it is time to stop free movement of jihadists

Hundreds of jeering protesters disrupted Marine Le Pen's appearance at the Oxford Union's prestigious debating society yesterday, delaying the event by over an hour.

Demonstrators chanted "This is free speech, that is a platform" and "Le Pen – we know your daddy was a fascist too" in reference to Marine’s father, the founder of the Front National, who once said Nazi death camps were a "detail of Second World War history."

Protesters complained that the union had provided the French far-right party a privileged platform to spread Islamophobia.

Le Pen finally appeared on stage at 7pm after a one-hour delay. In her speech, she criticised the policy of freedom of movement across the European Union, The Times reports.

Le Pen said that she believed that strengthening national borders would halt the free movement of jihadists across the continent. "The nation's border is the nation's first defence against Islamic fundamentalism," she said.

Speaking in French, the controversial politician also used her appearance in the UK to criticise multiculturalism. "Multicultural societies often become multi-conflicted societies," she said. "We have to do everything now to avoid a clash of cultures that will bring down our continent."

Marine Le Pen: UK appearance sparks protest

05 February

Hundreds of demonstrators have pledged to protest outside the Oxford Union ahead of a planned appearance by Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French far-right Front National, at the University of Oxford's prestigious debating society.

Weyman Bennett from Unite Against Fascism, a group whose members are planning to protest the visit, said: "The union must reverse the decision to invite this notorious Islamophobe".

However, Oxford Union's president Lisa Wehden said that Le Pen's appearance upheld the university's long commitment to freedom of speech.

Wehden added that the invitation to speak should not be seen as "an endorsement of any particular agenda".

More than 300 professors, students and Oxford residents signed an open letter urging the union to rescind Le Pen's visit. Oxford is a multicultural city and Le Pen's visit contributes to "a climate of Islamophobia which only encourages racists and fascists", they said.

Le Pen's Front National party is renowned in France for its nationalist agenda and anti-immigration policies, the Guardian reports.

Le Pen's talk is scheduled to take place at the Oxford Union Society Debating Chamber tonight.

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