Lauren Southern’s Speaking Tour Sparks Protests
Far-right activist Lauren Southern’s Melbourne tour is firing up protesters
Lauren Southern is a far-right activist from Canada who had her gender legally changed to male to mock gender ID laws, tried to stop ships on a search-and-rescue mission for migrants, and spread false rumours that a Quebec terrorist attack was carried out by Syrian refugees.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff - a former cabinet minister and leader of New Zealand's Labour Party - has not been shy about his disapproval for the speaker and said while she was free to talk at a privately owned venue, the council wasn't comfortable hosting.
He said, "Our venues shouldn't be used to stir up ethnic or religious tensions. Views that divide rather than unite are repugnant and I have made my views on this very clear.”
She's been kicked out of the UK and banned from NZ. She was also initially barred from entering Australia but was granted access last week, with the first engagement in Melbourne today.
For her Melbourne speaking engagement, the Canadian commentator is expected to share her controversial views on multiculturalism, Islam and feminism. Ticket holders are not being told the venue until an hour before the event. Protestors are gathering, waiting to leap on the announcement.
The Campaign Against Racism and Fascism has organised a protest in Melbourne against Southern. On their Facebook page, they said, “We're not going to let that [her event] happen without a loud, lively opposition.”
“The racism and sexism that Lauren Southern promotes isn't just vile, it's dangerous. When we allow these ideas to be spread unopposed, we know where it leads. Show her that Melbourne won't tolerate her racism and sexism…”
Police are reportedly spending $230,000 to protect her, and according to News Corp Australia, Victoria Police have sent her a $68,000 bill for their resources.
"As per the Victoria Police (fees and charges) Regulations 2014, Victoria Police has the right to charge any event organiser for the use of police resources," a spokesman told AAP.