Fight broke out between students at protest against Uni of Manchester Pro-Life society

Students gathered outside the Students’ Union protesting against a Pro-Life society event held last night

A planned protest against the University of Manchester’s Pro-Life society was the scene of a violent clash last night.

Organised by the Stop Manchester Pro Life movement, which has amassed over 2,400 Instagram followers since its inception in February, the protest saw the clash of  pro-choice protesters and pro-life campaigners.

A fight broke out between campaigners who had gathered outside the Students’ Union, MailOnline reports.

The protest took place last night, 29th February, coinciding with a meeting planned by the Pro-Life society. Protesters were seen holing posters, placards and signs expressing their opposition to the society.

In a video seen by The Tab, two men were seen engaging in a fight just outside of the University of Manchester Students’ Union, with punches thrown from both men involved. Other members of the protest were then seen intervening and a male was filmed walking away from the crowd. Members of the crowd can be seen gesturing and booing as the fight was broken up and one of those involved walks away.

Beginning outside the UoM student’s union on Oxford Road, the protest moved around university buildings and reached the Zochonis Building, where the Pro-life society meeting was being held.

In a separate video filmed outside the Zochonis building, police officers were seen observing as members of the pro-life society filed out after their meeting. Chants of “shame on you ” can be heard from the crowd.

The Stop Manchester Pro Life movement told The Manchester Tab that the altercation at the protest was “peaceful” and that the fight had “nothing to do” with the protest.

Hannah Morton, a third year politics and international relations student who created the Stop Manchester Pro Life movement told The Manchester Tab that “the absolute worse that happened was an egg being thrown at a window.”

The Pro-life society had attempted kept the location of the meeting private, removing the location off their Instagram account, which was temporarily disabled.

Since the reinstatement of their account, they have since posted about their meeting last night, making no reference to the protest. Commenters on the post wrote “When the other side turn to insults, intimidation and violence they know they’ve lost the argument”, “Keep up the good work” and “Keep going guys.”

Students who have previously spoken to The Manchester Tab about the society branded it “backwards thinking” and urged the university to “consider the implications of the society.”

On the 12th February, an anonymous petition was created and was subsequently sent to University of Manchester Students’ Union asking it to dissolve the society. The petition has since gained over 18,000 signatures.

The protest also comes after the Students union released a statement saying that the Pro-Life Society was officially affiliated on the 11th January 2024, following society registration guidelines, as well as quoting legislation that requires Student Unions to comply with new freedom of speech. The Pro-Life society say their aims are to “create a pro-life culture on campus and support the dignity of every human life from conception.”

The SU outlined that despite complaints and the petition gaining over 18,000 signatures, “it’s not possible to stop a society from affiliating for their legal views that are contrary to the views of other students.”

The Pro-Life Society recently recruited two new female committee members, after being criticism for being compromised of just two male students.

Following the SU announcement, the anonymous student who created the petition posted an update, thanking people for their support. They also wrote that the petition is “in no way calling for any harassment or intimidation of the members/committee of the Pro-Life society personally.”