Senator Lidia Thorpe knocked to ground in struggle with police at anti-trans rally in Canberra

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The independent senator Lidia Thorpe was pulled to the ground after attempting to storm the stage at a rally in Canberra held by anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen, who also goes by the name of Posie Parker.

Draped in an Aboriginal flag, Thorpe struggled with police before she was stopped by them; she returned to the pro-trans rights rally to cheers.

Pro-trans rights protesters, led by Thorpe and Australian Greens senator Janet Rice, significantly outnumbered those supporting Keen, the controversial British activist.

Thorpe, who recently staged a protest attempting to block the Sydney Mardi Gras parade to protest Indigenous deaths in custody, said she had moved on Keen to protest homophobia and transphobia.

“As a sovereign black woman I’ve come to let these people know that they are not welcome on this country,” Thorpe told Guardian Australia.

“We do not tolerate this … on Ngunnawal and Ngambri country.

“This government need to answer why these people are allowed into this country.”

Thorpe also complained about her treatment by Australian federal police, alleging that it constituted assault. A spokesperson for Thorpe later clarified that the incident involved private security officers as well as AFP officers. The matter is being investigated by the AFP.

The AFP responded: “The interactions between the [Australian federal police] and protesters will be reviewed, and an incident has been referred to the AFP’s professional standards command.”

On one side of the event, Parker addressed a crowd of about 30 supporters, joined by One Nation’s Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts and the United Australia party’s Ralph Babet.

On the other side, a larger gathering of more than 100 people led chants and held signs.

In January, the Greens MP Stephen Bates wrote to the immigration minister, Andrew Giles, calling on him to revoke Keen’s visa, but the request was referred to the department.

Outside Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday, the trans rights protesters referred to the Melbourne rally with a chant of “Posie Parker, you can’t hide, you’ve got Nazis on your side”.

In a tightly cropped video streaming on social media, Parker claimed this was an attempt to “silence” her and that she had been “aggressed upon”, as the pro-trans rally maintained a distance of 50 metres.

Hanson was challenged by one anti-trans rights protester with the question: “What are One Nation going to do about it?” Hanson replied that the party could “make a difference if you give us the power to do it” by putting the minor party in the balance of power. With its two senators, One Nation is already in the balance of power.

Hanson noted that the party’s motions, such as one banning gender reassignment surgery for children aged under 18, had been defeated by major parties who are “not interested” in the issue.

On the sidelines of the protest, UAP’s Babet noted there was “nobody here from the Coalition”, labelling them “weak and gutless” in comments to Guardian Australia.

Earlier, the Liberal MP Bridget Archer told ABC Radio that organisers had “almost stopped pretending that it’s about women’s rights and they are openly saying that it is an anti-transgender protest”.

“If they want to talk about women’s safety, I don’t think that the issue of … same-sex bathrooms is where the issue of women’s safety is at,” she said. “The most unsafe place for women to be is in their own homes.

“In terms of safety, the transgender community have much higher rates of violence perpetrated against them than even women do, so I think it’s just nonsense.”

Related: Moira Deeming vows to fight expulsion push over involvement in protest attended by neo-Nazis

No Coalition parliamentarians were in attendance at Keen’s rally. This week the Liberal senators Alex Antic and Hollie Hughes publicly defended Victorian MP Moira Deeming against a push to expel her by the Victorian Liberal leader, John Pesutto, after Deeming attended Keen’s rally in Melbourne on Saturday.

Deeming has denied any wrongdoing and condemned the attendance of neo-Nazis at that rally, calling them gatecrashers.

Deeming’s defenders in the federal Coalition also include Liberal senator Sarah Henderson, who has lobbied Victorian counterparts not to expel her.

Hughes told Sky News it was wrong to associate those like Deeming who stand up for “biological women” with the far-right views of those who attended the Melbourne rally.