Cherwell

Fresh protests over Theresa May portrait

Handwritten notes protesting the decision to hang the portrait in May.

A letter of protest has replaced a portrait of Prime Minister Theresa May, which was controversially removed from the geography department yesterday.

It is not known who fixed the letter, which pledges support for the ‘Women of Yarl’s Wood’, to the wall and it is believed it was placed there earlier today.

The letter refers to hunger strikes and protests carried out by more than 100 women in the Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre.

The portrait of May, which was part of a celebration of the department’s female alumnae, was removed yesterday after protest from staff and students.

The University has said that the portrait was taken down because it “was being obscured by posters bearing various messages.” According to the statement, the portrait “will be re-displayed so it can be seen as intended.”

The letter shows a message originally sent to ‘Women for Refugee Women’ to be read out on international Women’s Day on 8th March 2018.

The letter reads: “We wish we could be celebrating with you on this day, but we are not free to do so.”

“It is true that women have made much progress in the past century since the suffragettes won the right for some women to vote, but a hundred years does not negate an entire history of women being treated at best as inferior and at worst as property.”

It continues: “We women here in Yarl’s Wood did not anticipate out freedom would be taken from us or the impact it would have. We are on a hunger strike because we are suffering unfair imprisonment and racist abuse in this archaic institution in Britain.”

The letter then presents a list of demands from the group.

It finishes: “Theresa May, a graduate of OUCE, was Home Secretary and responsible for Yarl’s Wood between 2010 and 2016. She was the architect of the ‘hostile environment’ for people who have migrated to the UK.”