Video footage has surfaced of a meeting held at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) on 18 October being interrupted by protesters, allegedly from the Muslim Brotherhood.
The SOAS Palestine Society had invited Mohammed Nabawy of the Egyptian Tamarrod (“Rebel”) movement to speak at the meeting in the Khalili lecture theatre at the University of London college.
However, the talk was forcibly disrupted by around 30 protesters, believed to be from the Muslim Brotherhood, who chanted “fall, fall the rule of the military” while the speaker was ushered from the building by SOAS security guards.
The Tamarrod movement was a popular movement opposed to the regime of the Muslim Brotherhood President of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi.
It did support the military coup against Morsi on 3 July 2013, and the subsequent crackdown during which hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters were killed.
However, the Tamarrod movement is not the same as the Egyptian state. The Muslim Brotherhood, on the other hand, is a reactionary, religious, anti-working class force. As the SOAS Palestine Society said, the protestors disrupted the talk “in order to silence and intimidate our invited speakers and attendees, and to forestall any debate.”
The bar for disrupting meetings rather than going along to argue must be set highly — for dictators or representatives of repressive regimes, for example.
Our general policy must be freedom of speech and opposition to thuggish intimidation, both here in Britain and in Egypt.