A group of LGBT activists who put up messages of support for staff teaching lessons about same-sex relationships were allegedly egged as a row erupted outside a Birmingham primary school on Sunday night.
A dozen women and one man say they were attacked as they attached rainbow motifs, signs reading “love is love”, and colourful pompoms to the gates outside Anderton Park primary school.
The school has seen some parents protest against the equality classes. It comes amid controversy around lessons on diversity in primary schools through the No Outsiders programme, which includes teaching about same-sex relationships.
The three-week-long protests come after the city’s Parkfield Community School announced it would be suspending the programme until a resolution was be reached with parents.
No Outsiders, which teaches about the Equality Act, was authored by the primary school’s assistant headteacher, Andrew Moffat.
Anderton Park has not adopted the No Outsiders lessons, but parents have demonstrated daily over claims that not enough information has been given out by the school regarding its efforts to teach tolerance and respect of minorities.
Hundreds of parents reportedly pulled their children out of lessons in a planned protest on Monday.
Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips visited the school on Monday, during which she was captured in a discussion with protest co-ordinator Shakeel Afsar.
Our equalities laws protect us all. I will not be called agressive for wanting to protect all of the community, Muslims too. This is doing deep damage to the Muslim community and these protestors do not represent Birmingham https://t.co/dMuTYN9zh2— Jess Phillips (@jessphillips) May 20, 2019
Phillips told Afsar, who has been protesting against the school: “I don’t agree with your protest, I’m not going to come down and join in your protest”.
“I want our Muslim community to be completely protected. And I think what’s happening here, the worst thing about it, is that it is damaging the reputation of a peaceful, loving community that I have lived in my entire life.”
Some activists say they were left in tears and feeling “scared and intimidated” by men who gathered in the street and chanted and shouted slogans on Sunday.
Activist Tracy, 49, told Birmingham Mail: “It was awful. I was shaking. We had no intention of disturbing anyone - we were putting up the banners and messages we had made to show solidarity with staff.
“We wanted them to see something positive when they turned up for work, and to see they had our backing.”
But Afsar tweeted that parents were protesting the school, not the LGBT community.
He accused the group of being “vandalisers” who disturbed local residents at night after fasting throughout the day for Ramadan.
Activist Honor Bridgman said they called the police after 30-40 eggs were thrown at the crowd, cars and houses.
She tweeted: “There was no protests or chants from our group. We placed messages of support, love and solidarity on the school railings. That’s a peaceful protest,” she said.
She continued: “The group were there to show their support for the school! They hung their messages in silence and the drama only started when they tried to leave and they were attacked. Until that point it was a peaceful show of love and solidarity.”
Videos posted to Twitter show local residents coming out of their homes as it fell dark last night.
One woman is captured threatening to call the police amid the disturbance.
West Midlands Police say they are aware of the incident.
Local Labour councillor Kerry Jenkins, who has supported the school during the demonstrations, previously said its headteacher had sent several newsletters to parents in recent days.
Jenkins said the school was doing nothing wrong and was fulfilling its duties under the Equality Act.