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One arrested amid Tate Britain protest over drag queen children’s event

Rightwing demonstrators outside gallery met by counterprotesters including trans-rights campaigners

The Met police said one person had been arrested on suspicion of making a racially aggravated comment towards a police officer outside the London gallery. Photograph: James Manning/PA

One person has been arrested amid a protest outside Tate Britain, where a drag queen storytelling event for children was being hosted.

The Metropolitan police said one person was arrested on suspicion of making a racially aggravated comment towards a police officer outside the art gallery near Westminster.

No injuries have been reported and officers remain at the scene, the force said.

The Tate was hosting Drag Queen Story Hour UK on Saturday, with tales told by Aida H Dee, who the gallery’s website describes as “the first drag artist in Europe to read stories to children in a nursery”.

A rightwing group of protesters demonstrated outside the gallery and were met by counterprotesters led by trans-rights campaigners and political groups, including Stand Up to Racism.

Officers had to form a corridor so attenders could get into the venue.

Writing on Twitter, the drag queen said the day had been “proper emotional”, adding that five protesters had gained entry to the Tate and “caused a disruption” in parts of the building, but they did not affect the readings.

She had previously told Pink News that the invite to the Tate for the event during LGBTQ+ history month had been “an honour”.

Her readings have previously been targeted by protesters.

The Drag Queen had said that “risk assessments” had taken place beforehand – but added it was “ridiculous” that they were necessary.

Aida tweeted: “5 haters made it into the Tate. They caused a disruption. BUT not to Drag Story Hour UK … They made a fuss elsewhere in the building, not where the show was!! SHOW 2 went swimmingly!!!”

Aida had been staging three storytelling sessions on Saturday at 11am, noon and 2pm.

A spokesperson for the Tate said: “We do not programme artists in order to promote particular points of view, nor to reconcile differing points of view.

“Our galleries offer a broad programme and visitors have the freedom to choose which aspects of it they engage with.”

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