Keir Starmer glitter protester unmasked as eco-loon that loves exotic holidays
Keir Starmer covered in glitter in conference protest
The protester arrested on suspicion of assaulting Sir Keir Starmer during his speech at the Labour Party Conference is a senior member of Extinction Rebellion (XR) with a taste for long-haul flights to exotic destinations and an obsession with Lego.
Yaz Ashmawi, 28, stormed the stage of the conference hall in Liverpool as the Labour leader was addressing delegates for the final time before next year’s General Election.
Ashmawi was arrested by Merseyside Police on suspicion of assault, breach of the peace and causing public nuisance, after throwing glitter on Sir Keir as he delivered his speech.
Attempting to steal the limelight, Ashmawi declared: “True democracy is citizen led. Politics needs an update.”
As the Labour leader attempted to prevent him from speaking into the microphone, the environmentalist yelled as he was dragged to the floor by security staff: “We demand a people’s house. We demand a people’s house. We are in crisis”.
The St Andrews physics graduate is a self-proclaimed member of XR’s strategy team and in January of this year stormed the House of Lords demanding democratic reforms as peers debated the Government’s changes to rules around protests.
Ashmawi and 11 other XR protesters broke into the upper house of Parliament and caused a five-minute adjournment of proceedings.
Peers were debating the Government’s Public Order Bill, which became law in May, granting police officers new powers to crack down on protests deemed seriously disruptive.
Standing up on the balcony, Ashmawi interrupted a peer’s speech on the Bill, warning that protesters planned to descend on Parliament and comparing XR to the Suffragettes.
In an exchange with Green Party peer Jenny Jones on X, formerly Twitter, Ashmawi took credit for the outburst, saying: “I hope my words from the balcony reminded some peers of what’s at stake.”
In subsequent posts on the platform he said: “It’s hard to communicate when you’re being strangled and punched in the face.
“Such is the way of non-violent action, you never know the outcomes in advance, but it often brings to the surface that which is present but not so visible.”
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Video footage of January’s protest posted by XR appears to show a member of security staff restraining Ashmawi however it is unclear how that was done. The clip also shows the white-gloved security guard repeatedly telling the globe-trotting eco-warrior to “shut up”.
Despite being a vocal climate zealot, Ashmawi appears to be a well-travelled amatuer photographer who has enjoyed trips to a litany of far flung destinations, including Vietnam, Cuba and the UAE.
The climate crusader’s posts on social media show he has visited at least 13 countries, from Norway to India, on four separate continents over the last 10 years.
During a video posted on Instagram, Ashmawi, sat crossed-legged in the Egyptian desert, called for 100,000 people to march on Westminster and set up “citizens’ assemblies” to “bring an end to the fossil fuel era”.
When he’s not posting arty shots of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Moroccan beaches or Cambodian temples, the activist appears to regularly take pictures of children’s Lego toys with a climate change theme.
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His social media account is littered with snaps of plastic toys in various poses. In one such Instagram post, Ashmawi shared an image of a female Lego figure, under the caption: “who do we have here: our very own Jedi Knight of the Realm sworn to protect Mother Gaia from the tyranny of carbon dioxide emissions and the unprecedented knock-on effects of climate perturbations triggering ecological event-space instability and potential cascade collapse.”
He is also thought to have attended the radical leftist event at the Labour Party Conference – The World Transformed.
Following Ashmawi’s stunt, Extinction Rebellion confirmed he was a member of the organisation but that the protest wasn’t their doing.
An XR spokesperson said: “We agree with Yaz that true democracy is citizen-led and that our politics needs an update. The greatest crisis we are facing is the climate and nature emergency and it is clear the political system is unable to cope with this.
“This is why XR is demanding a UK-wide, independently-run citizens’ assembly on the climate and nature emergencies.”
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