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West Midlands Police chief constable slams protests LGBT Muslim outside primaru school

Today West Midland Police's chief constable Dave Thompson (pictured) said a 'number of criminal offences' have taken place outside a school in Birmingham embroiled in a row over LGBT inclusion lessons

A police chief has slammed 'unlawful' protests that have 'no place' outside primary schools after recent clashes between LGBT campaigners and Muslim parents. 

Police were scrambled to the area outside Anderton Park Primary School in Birmingham on Sunday evening after reports of assault and criminal damage.

LGBT activists reportedly attached banners to the school gates in support of its 'No Outsiders' lessons, before members of the Muslim community staged a counter-protest. 

Today West Midland Police's chief constable Dave Thompson said a 'number of criminal offences' had taken place outside the school late on Sunday.    

The force received reports at 9.30pm on Sunday of assault and criminal damage  in the area as well as reports of malicious communications received by the school on Thursday.

Police were called to the school again on Monday after protesters claimed around 600 pupils were withdrawn from lessons.

The force's chief constable has now stepped in to express his 'increasing concern' over the rhetoric of the protests.

Police are pictured outside Anderton Park Primary School in Sparkbrook, Birmingham in March where protests over LGBT inclusion lessons are still going on 

Labour MP Jess Phillips (right) is pictured in a heated row with Muslim parent spokesman Shakeel Afsar (far left) outside Anderton Park Primary School in Birmingham 

Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips gestures towards parent spokesman Shakeel Asfar 

Mr Thompson said: 'In recent months some Birmingham primary schools have been subject to protests by parents concerning the schools' curriculum on equality.

'These protests have resulted in an ongoing protest outside Anderton Park Primary School. These protests have, to date, been lawful.

'West Midlands Police has been discharging our duty to maintain the public peace and where criminal offences are identified to act.'

Speaking of the recent clashes between the two sides outside the school, Mr Thompson said: 'In the last 24 hours, a number of criminal offences have taken place that the force will investigate and seek to bring people to justice.

'As a citizen of this city, I have observed these protests and the rhetoric around them with increasing concern. West Midlands Police values and celebrates the diversity of this area.

'We believe the strength of this city is in tolerant and diverse communities.

'Sadly, this is not the image of Birmingham that these events are projecting around the country and the world.'

Mr Thompson has now urged campaigners to consider the effect their protests are having on the reputation on the city of Birmingham.

He said: 'It is very important all those involved in the dispute at Anderton Park recognise the adverse impact this is having on the reputation of the city, broader cohesion and, most importantly, the children at this school.

'Views are entrenching with a determination to win this argument. This is creating an environment where those who seek division will have cause to celebrate and to exploit.

'Frankly, a primary school is no place for the continuance of a large scale protest, however lawful.'

Yesterday Labour MP Jess Phillips clashed with parent spokesman Shakeel Afsar outside the school gates.

She called for an exclusion zone to ensure pupils were able to travel to and from school safely.

The Birmingham Yardley MP accused the parents of 'damaging the reputation' of the Muslim community. 

Headteacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson says she has been told to resign and stop the equality lessons. 

Mr Thompson added: 'In this holy period of Ramadan, and as we celebrate Pride in our city, I urge those involved and those who can influence these events to think again and consider how they can come together to discuss these strongly held views and bring this protest to an end.

'West Midlands Police cannot solve this problem but we will support all involved in seeking a dialogue and a solution.

Parents are pictured outside Anderton Park Primary School at an earlier protest in March 

'Equally, we will act where people see to exploit these matters and break the law.'

Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, who supports the work of West Midlands Police, said: 'Teachers should be free to get on with teaching a full curriculum, that highlights and explains Britain's full diversity without fear of protests or threats. All forms of equality are equally important.

'As a former head teacher, I understand full well that schools need to work with parents and would encourage productive dialogue to continue.

'I must emphasise though that protests and threats have no place outside of the school gates and where there is evidence of criminality the police will be investigating thoroughly.'

The No Outsiders lessons were first dreamed up by another Birmingham teacher called Andrew Moffatt.

He created the scheme to teach children about the Equality Act and British values. 

Schools signed up to the programme have five of these lessons a year, covering areas outlined in the Act: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. 

Parents at schools in Birmingham, where a large number of pupils are Muslim, say they are 'aggressively promoting homosexuality' and constitute a breach of their religious values. 

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