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Hove MP Mike Weatherley attacked at Sussex University
An MP was pelted with rocks, tomatoes and eggs by angry protestors as he prepared to give a speech at University of Sussex.
Mike Weatherley, who represents Hove, has spoken of his horror after he was “besieged” by up to 100 protestors.
One of his colleagues, an intern, was struck by a rock and another had a punch swung at him as angry scenes broke out yesterday afternoon (November 14).
Mr Weatherley was chased from the Asa Briggs Lecture Theatre, across the Falmer campus and sought refuge in a locked building.
Police were called and, surrounded by six officers, Mr Weatherley was escorted out into a waiting riot van.
The MP was set to discuss his controversial anti-squatting law.
A group called the “Priam Collective” claimed responsibility for the ambush, suggesting they were “waging a war” on Mr Weatherley because of his support for the legislation.
Mr Weatherley told The Argus how he had to run away from the barrage.
He said: “I was at the university to give a speech to the university's Conservative Society, although others were welcome.
“Then anarchists arrived and started throwing rocks, tomatoes and eggs.
“One of my staff was hit with a rock.
“We had to run through the blocks and were locked in a safe room which was then besieged.”
He explained how he was escorted out by police, but a number of his staff remained in the locked room for an hour.
At 2.45pm, his entourage were finally led out of the Silverstone building and into waiting police riot vans.
Mr Weatherley added: “I am very angry that that this could happen.”
His political assistant Robert Nemeth described how between 70 and 100 people “ambushed” them on the way to the speech.
He said: “There were quite a few nasty-looking people stood around but we thought we would put on a show for the students.”
The people who claimed to have attacked him spoke exclusively to The Argus.
They said: “This is a war. Not a war that we chose, but a war that we are confronted with daily.
“The time for debate is over, closing with the passing of “Weatherley's Law”.
“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich and poor alike to sleep in empty properties, not to suffer the streets, and to steal warmth.”
People who witnessed the scenes on campus described it as “bonkers”.
A university spokeswoman said: “We are appalled to hear that Mike Weatherley was prevented from speaking on campus by a group of protestors.
"We believe that the violent disruption was led by activist protestors from outside of the university, not by our students.”
A Sussex Police spokeswoman added: “Just before 1.50pm police were called to the Silverstone Room in Arts Road on the University of Sussex campus at Falmer, after a report of a disturbance.”
In a statement released today (November 15) Mr Weatherley thanked the public for the kindness he and his staff received after yesterday's incident.
“I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the kind messages of support that I have received from friends, constituents and concerned members of the public.
"Thank you to everyone who has taken the trouble to get in touch – your messages are very much appreciated. It was a miracle no one was seriously injured, but it could have been a very different story if the violent thugs weren’t held back.”
Videos supplied by Thomas Loan and Nick Chowdrey.
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