education

Birmingham anti-LGBT school protests: judge makes ban permanent


A high court judge has permanently banned activists against LGBT equality lessons from demonstrating outside a Birmingham primary school.

Protesters went head to head with a local authority during the five-day trial to stop protests outside Anderton Park school. The school, in the Sparkhill area of the city, has become the focus of a long campaign to halt LGBT equality messages being taught in the classroom.

Most of the protesters have been of Muslim faith and some have stood regularly outside the school chanting “Let kids be kids” and carrying placards with the message: “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”

Birmingham city council launched court action to prevent more protests outside the school after about 300 people gathered at the gates in May. The demonstration included a speech by an imam who claimed anal sex, paedophilia and transgenderism were being taught in schools.

Following the five-day hearing in October, the high court judge Justice Mark Warby reserved his judgment until a later date. On Tuesday, he announced the verdict, saying an exclusion zone surrounding the school would remain in place permanently banning protesters from gathering outside the school.

Warby said protesters had grossly misrepresented what was being taught at the school and caused a significant adverse reaction to children, teachers and local residents.

An emergency interim order was granted, and later extended in June, which sought to halt any further gatherings near the primary school that could disrupt pupils or intimidate staff.

The temporary injunction, which has been made permanent, banned the defendants Shakeel Afsar, his sister Rosina Afsar – who had two children at Anderton Park but has since removed one of them – and Amir Ahmed from coordinating protests outside the school.

However Justice Warby lifted his earlier ban on social media criticism of the LGBT teaching. This acceptance of the argument for free online speech came after the intervention of Christian blogger John Allman.

All three defendants gave evidence at the week-long hearing and contested the need for a legal injunction to curtail protests. The Christian campaigner John Allman from Okehampton, Devon, also opposed the imposition of what he claimed would be a “super-injunction”.

In documents submitted to the court hearing, Allman accused the council of choosing “war war rather then jaw jaw” and said he had decided to became a formal defendant in the court proceedings as a member of the general public.



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