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Protest Debate

@ 8:30 pm - 11:30 pm
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This House Would Do Whatever Is Necessary

Addressing the Union chamber in 1964, Malcolm X urged members to do ‘whatever necessary’ in pursuit of social justice. Throughout history, academics have debated — and activists have pushed — the limits of legitimate protest. From pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong to Extinction Rebellion, the boundaries of necessity appear to be shifting. Faced with civil disobedience and activists treating mass arrests as the price of doing business, there are calls to curtail the right to protest. Is violent protest a legitimate tool or an unjustifiable threat? Where are the red lines when protesting — and should we cross them?



Aislinn Pulley

Co-executive director at the Chicago Torture Justice Centre and co-founder of Black Lives Matter Chicago. She has campaigned extensively to raise money for families who have suffered due to police violence.

Ben Smoke

Journalist and activist from London, who helped found Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants and took part in a blockade of a deportation charter flight at Stansted airport in 2017. The action saw the group charged and convicted of terror-related offences, before narrowly avoiding prison. Ben is contributing editor at Huck Magazine, regularly appears on LBC, and is writing his first book about the Stansted 15 trial.

Gian Volpicelli

Senior writer at WIRED, where he covers cryptocurrency, decentralization, politics, and technology regulation. He received a master’s degree in journalism from City University of London after studying politics and international relations in Rome.


Peter Tatchell

Human rights advocate, LGBT+ activist, author and journalist who co-founded gay rights political group OutRage! in 1990 which promotes direct action against discrimination. Member of the Green Party of England and Wales.

Helen King QPM

Former Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner and recipient of the Queen’s Police Medal. Previously worked as a detective, uniformed officer, and national police lead for horizon scanning.

Rayhan Asat

Rayhan Asat is an internationally recognized Uyghur human rights lawyer, fellow at Yale Law School, and a graduate of Harvard Law. Her human rights advocacy has been featured in media outlets including The NYT and BBC. Rayhan’s brother Ekpar Asat, an award-winning tech-entrepreneur and philanthropist, who has disappeared into China’s concentration camps, has become a driving force in her mission as a human rights lawyer.
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Time: 8:30 pm - 11:30 pm
Event CategoryDebates