Lidia Thorpe tackled to ground in tense Canberra scene

Lidia Thorpe at Thursday's rally

Source: Twitter/Sarah Basford Canales

Former Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe was tackled to the ground by police on lawns opposite Parliament on Thursday at a protest against transgender people that threatens to become a political flashpoint.

Canberra Times journalist Sarah Basford Canales posted footage of the incident shortly before noon.

Senator Thorpe, whose commitment to the black sovereignty movement left her out of place in her former minor party, appeared to be walking purposefully through the anti-transgender rights protest before a federal police officer took her down.

That happened, “right in front of Pauline Hanson”, Basford-Canales said.

Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, also known as Posie Parker, headed the protest, speaking against allowing trans-women to enter female-only spaces.

Senator Thorpe branded her words as transphobic.

“I went to tell her, they are not welcome here,” she said after her altercation with police.

“This government needs to answer why these people are allowed into this country,” she said of the British national.

The Australian Federal Police said the incident would be reviewed.

“The interactions between the AFP and protesters will be reviewed, and an incident has been referred to the AFP’s Professional Standards Command,” it said.

“Given a matter is now under investigation, no further comments will be made.”

Greens senator Janet Rice also joined the counter-protest, saying it easily outnumbered the “bigots” and drowned out their chants.

The anti-trans protesters have been the subject of controversy after some members were seen performing the Nazi salute on the steps of the Victorian parliament.

Ms Parker has denied any links to Nazism.

She received support inside parliament, with Nationals senator Matt Canavan saying the actions of “a very small number of moronic fools in the Nazi Party” were silencing genuine concerns from protesters.

“It’s disgraceful that a bunch of men have apparently been able to silence the rights of women around this country … to have their say about not wanting biological males to enter into women’s spaces,” he said.

“I think that’s a very legitimate request from many women around the nation and they deserve to have their voice heard.”

Senator Canavan said he would have joined the protest if not preoccupied with parliament.

One Nation senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts, as well as United Australia Party senator Ralph Babet, joined the anti-trans protest.

The opposition has pushed to ban Nazi symbols by introducing legislation in parliament, with home affairs spokeswoman Karen Andrews describing Nazi insignia as “abhorrent”.

“For a long period of time, there have been discussions about whether or not such insignia, such salutes should be banned,” she said.

“I think the time has come for action and very definitive action to take place.”

Victorian Liberal leader John Pesutto is pushing to expel one of his MPs, Moira Deeming, who attended the anti-trans rally in Melbourne.

Federal Liberal MP Bridget Archer said she supported the sacking of her state counterpart.

“I’m frankly disappointed to see anybody go to those protests, to be honest,” she said.

“They’ve almost stopped pretending that it’s about women’s rights and they are openly saying that it is an anti-transgender protest.”

Labor MP Josh Burns called on Mr Dutton to sack any Liberal who attended the protests.

“I really hope the leader of the opposition upholds the same standard for his team that the Victorian Liberal leader does for the Victorian Liberal team,” he said.

-with AAP

Topics: Lidia Thorpe
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