More counter-protests in Leeds as 'Lesbian Strength' and trans rights groups gather in City Square

A Lesbian Strength March in Leeds today was met with a counter-protest by trans rights activists.

Saturday, 7th September 2019, 3:23 pm
The protest in Leeds city centre

Police were called in to keep the groups separated on either side of City Square.

On one side, the Lesbian Strength March gathered to fight for a 'visible lesbian presence' on the streets.

The women travelled to Leeds from across the country and said they were protesting as they no longer felt safe at Pride marches.

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The protest in Leeds city centre

Organiser Julie Furlong said: "Pride doesn't represent us for lots of different reasons.

-> Watch the moment Tommy Robinson supporters and anti-fascists clash in Leeds City Square"For just once this year, we want to be somewhere where we are appreciated, where we are valued and where we are with our sisters."

Julie claims that the march has nothing to do with transgender people - but trans rights activists gathered opposite City Square to oppose the Lesbian Strength March.

The counter-protesters believe that the march is inciting hatred against trans people.

An organiser of the counter protests, Rosie, said: "We fully believe that lesbians have every right to be visible and every right to march through the streets.

"I'm very proud to be a lesbian and to be born a woman - but I'm also proud of the inclusivity that Leeds shows.

"We believe that everyone has a part in this lesbian community - it doesn't matter what genitals they have!"

The protests follow a heavy police presence on City Square this morning as pro-Tommy Robinson supporters and 'anti-fascist' groups clashed.

There was far less policing for this afternoon's protests and the campaigners remained peaceful - using banners and placards to express their views.