Pro-life students were targeted by angry pro-abortion advocates at the University of Manchester in the U.K. last week. The situation violently erupted when the pro-life group tried to hold its first meeting. 

Police officers were forced to intervene to hold back an angry mob who heckled and attacked pro-lifers at the inaugural event of the newly formed Manchester Pro-Life Society on February 29. 

The group had been the subject of scrutiny since its creation in January as the once all-male group aimed to promote “respect for the dignity of human life from conception,” according to its Instagram page.

According to the BBC, more than 19,000 University of Manchester students signed a petition calling for the group to be dissolved saying it added to an “already prevalent stigma” surrounding abortion.

“The student union should be a place that supports all students’ rights and wellbeing rather than endorsing societies that aim to abolish these rights,” the petition read.

However, the pro-life group maintained it aimed “to create a pro-life culture on campus and support the dignity of every human life from conception.”

“From a legal standpoint, it’s not possible to stop a society from affiliating for their legal views that are contrary to the views of other students,” a Students’ Union spokesperson said at the time. “That means, despite concerns over student safety, the students’ union can’t block a society from forming because of their beliefs.”

The push to remove the Manchester Pro-Life Society then came to a head last week as hundreds protested. 

Members say they were egged and spat on, verbally assaulted with threats of rape and death, leaving many of them fearing for their safety, Christian Today reported. 

Video footage shows pro-life students being escorted out of the building by police and officers holding back the crowd.

Jacob Karinatan, the group’s treasurer said, “If it wasn’t for the police and security, people would have definitely been physically hurt.”

“It made me feel intimidated and threatened. I was genuinely afraid that we would get hurt physically,” he added.

Maisie, an alumna of the university who is seven months pregnant, said she was “terrified” that she and her unborn baby would be hurt. 

“Leaving the building was the most terrifying part, we were surrounded and people were screaming in our faces,” she shared. “I knew that it would only take one person to push into me for me to fall and be crushed. It was traumatic, I was shaking the whole time and I’m still really shaken up. I really thought our lives were in danger.”

“The crowd was extremely violent – spitting, throwing eggs, screaming and swearing. There were around 30 of us, and 300 of them,” Maisie added. “Most of them had their faces covered.”

Inge Botha, a first-year student at Manchester University, told GB News she was threatened to be raped for attending the event. 

“We were met with a lot of abuse and oppression for wanting to discuss our own opinion together,” she said. “People were getting physical. They were shouting abuse at us. One man even got into my face with his hands and told me to get raped. That’s not pro-woman. And it is definitely not tolerance.” 
 

Another video clip showed several students being followed by angry protesters shouting “Shame on you” and “F*** pro-life”.

At one point, a physical fight broke out among male students, while other protesters were seen cheering them on, the Daily Mail reported.

Catherine Robinson, the spokesperson for Right to Life UK, called the protest “appalling.”

“These students should be allowed to discuss serious moral issues like abortion free from such vile verbal threats and physical intimidation,” she said. “Student pro-life groups are often the first opportunity people have to hear the pro-life view and this should not be denied by the threat of violence.”

Lorcán Price, legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom UK (ADF), demanded Manchester University and its Students’ Union protect the rights of all students. 

“University, of all places, should be where everyone can learn, debate, challenge, and discuss ideas that are important to us,” Price said. “The Students Union has a duty of care to students to ensure their rights to free speech are protected. Debate is always welcome. Attempting to silence someone’s beliefs through threats of violence is unacceptable behavior in British society.”

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