Le Pen speaks at Cambridge Union as protesters rage outside

Students struggle to hear Le Pen through translation issues...

Protesters laid intermittent siege to the Cambridge Union today as Marine Le Pen spoke inside. Chants of "Nazi scum off our streets" rang in the early afternoon sunshine as around 150 protesters assembled outside the front of the Cambridge Union Society.

Marine Le Pen was scheduled to speak at 4pm but students were inside the Union from 2pm, awaiting her arrival. The far-right leader made a grand entrance, swept in at 2.40pm in a whirlwind of police uniforms through the front door. The previously cheery protesters surged towards the front entrance chanting "Nazi scum" but the police line kept them out.

Once inside, a confident Marine Le Pen spoke on immigration and the reputation of her party and family, dealing confidently with questions from the floor. However her speech was plagued by sound problems as simultaneous translation left students struggling to make out her words. While few at the end were swayed by her views, she left with at least grudging respect for her oratorical skills.

Outside, the protesters circled the building fruitlessly, occasionally clashing with the police at the crowd barriers by the back entrance, chanting "Who protects the Nazis? Police protect the Nazis". Gradually though protesters faded away as it became dark. By the time Le Pen made her exit at 6.45pm, there were few protesters left to try and block her exit and she was whisked away by a police escort.

Adam Clark

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