Oh dear. Today Jeremy Corbyn tried to move the conversation from Labour’s bad polling to human rights, with a speech to mark International Human Rights Day. However, while Corbyn wished to speak about championing women’s rights across the world, Peter Tatchell and anti-war campaigners had other ideas.
As the Labour leader spoke at Methodist Central Hall, Tatchell interrupted to accuse of Corbyn of not doing enough to condemn the actions of Russia in Syria:
Jeremy Corbyn's speech had been disrupted by protests led by Peter Tatchell https://t.co/98nguJsSmY
— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 10, 2016
‘What is happening in Aleppo is a modern-day Guernica. We haven’t heard the leader of the Labour party speak out enough to demand UK air drops to besieged civilians who are dying in their thousands.’
It then fell on Baroness Chakrabarti to suggest Corbyn vacate the stage and let the protest continue. After the speech, Corbyn supporters voiced their frustrations with Tatchell for interrupting the leader. One such attendee was caught on camera telling Tatchell that the White Helmets — the civil defence volunteers in Syria — are ‘nothing but a propaganda piece paid for by America and this country to continue a civil war’.
And the aftermath, as Jeremy Corbyn supporters accost Peter Tatchell outside the Methodist Hall. pic.twitter.com/IUR5FcN1Tt
— Jon Ironmonger (@JonIronmonger) December 10, 2016
Corbyn insists that his shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has condemned the situation in Syria. However, given that his director of comms not so long ago rejected a call for anti-Russia protests over Syria because it ‘diverts attention’ from America, it’s easy to see why such comments might not seem so sincere.