NEWPORT, Wales — Some 100 women and men gathered outside the police station here Feb. 24 to protest the arrest in January of women’s rights fighter Jennifer Swayne under “hate crime” laws. The action was sponsored by the Wales Women’s Rights Network.
Swayne was held in custody for 10 hours by Gwent police after she put up posters in Newport’s streets. Her bail has been extended until March 12. Cops searched her home, seizing the book Transgender Children and Young People: Born in Your Own Body, which includes essays against allowing children to undergo sex-change operations.
”We need books to fight anti-scientific attacks on women’s rights,” Sarah Phillimore from the group Fair Cop, told the rally. Fair Cop defends people who have been investigated by the police for their opinions.
“If a girl plays with tools and a boy plays with dolls they ‘assess’ these children,” Swayne told protesters. “Girls and young women risk mutilation if they are encouraged to go through with surgery.”
Pamela Holmes, Communist League candidate for mayor of Tower Hamlets in London, joined the action and expressed her solidarity. Working people “need freedom of speech,” she told the rally, “and to take this discussion into our unions to win support for women’s rights.”