Far-right protesters clash at London’s Tate Britain over drag queen story event for kids

Protesters outside Tate Britain

Protesters and counter-demonstrators clashed outside the Tate Britain as a Drag Queen Story Hour event took place. 

Nationalist organisation Patriotic Alternative are believed to have led the protest against the event on Saturday (11 February), with dozens of anti-facist and queer demonstrators – led by Stand Up To Racism – also turning out in support of the show. 

Drag Queen Story Hour, founded by drag queen Aida H Dee, are colourful and engaging reading sessions which are usually staged in libraries and see the performer read stories to the young children. 

The events have courted controversy with anti-LGBTQ+ groups, conspiracy theorists and right-wing figures who have demonstrated outside shows across the country, whilst accusing the drag queen, building staff, parents and supporters of being “groomers”. 

The library readings have been controversial in the past, with disruptive protests leading to a number of events being cancelled around the country (Guy Smallman/Getty Images)

Tate Britain’s event was announced last month and Aida H Dee described an appearance at the world-famous Tate to PinkNews as “an honour and just also bonkers”.

The central London art gallery in Milbank hosted three sessions at 11am, 12pm and 2pm for children who are off school during February half-term. 

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Outside the building, those opposing the event held up signs which read ‘leave our kids alone!’ and ‘No drag for kids!’ while the counter-protesters held signs saying ‘Don’t let the far right divide us’ and ‘Trans rights now’.

Conspiracy theorist Piers Corbyn, brother of Labour MP Jeremy, was photograph speaking at the protest after calling the event “vile” on Twitter. 

On the steps of the gallery the groups clashed and video footage shows police officers working to keep them apart. 

One person was arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence regarding comments made to a police officer at the event. 

No injuries were reported at the demonstration, PinkNews understands. 

However, during the event five protesters gained access to the Tate Britain and managed to disrupt other parts of the gallery – but not the actually story hour event. 

Sharing pictures from the three sessions on social media, Aida H Dee said the day was “awesome” and “proper emotional”. 

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