Protesters are expected to swamp the streets of Oxford tomorrow as the controversial Free Speech debate takes place at the Oxford Union.More than 1000 people are predicted to arrive in protest which will take place tomorrow at 8:30pm. The decision to go ahead with the debate was finalised last night after Union members voted 1062 to 640 in support of the invitations. Anti-fascist groups have condemned the decision to invite BNP leader Nick Griffin and David Irving -convicted of holocaust denial by an Austrian court – as irresponsible and dangerous, while OUSU President Martin McCluskey has expressed concern over the platform it will give to BNP views. Irving has been invited to speak at the Union before. In 2001, he was to take part in another free speech debate, but this event was cancelled. At the time, Thames Valley Police raised public order concerns surrounding the event. In a statement made earlier, they said that they were aware of the issues surrounding the event and reassured students and the public that they will be closely monitoring the event.
Chief Inspector Dennis Evernden said: “Our role in this event is to prevent any breech of the peace, facilitate any lawful protest and reassure the general public.
“We are very used to dealing with protest in Oxford and will deal with this event in a sensitive and professional manner.”