I was interrupted by Mayor three times

I'm sorry if the Lord Mayor, Councillor Ann Murphy, felt bullied and abused by street tree campaigners at the opening of the exhibition about 100 years of protest at Weston Park Museum.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 21 February, 2018, 06:29
The Lord Mayor of Sheffield Coun Anne Murphy.

I was not able to attend the opening, but understood from friends that the demonstration outside the museum, aimed at councillors attending the exhibition, was good-natured and peaceful, albeit with a bit of heckling.

Indeed, museum staff came out to invite campaigners into the exhibition, recognising that a protest at an exhibition about protest was a good thing.

Of course, I don’t know whether individuals may have said something to upset her and if they did, then I for one apologise.

Meanwhile, I think it fair to point out that tree campaigners protesting peacefully on the streets have had video cameras shoved in their faces, been pushed around, and had fingers prised from park fences (while standing in a neighbouring park, so not illegally under a tree).

I have seen situations where despite wholly peaceful protest, around 20-30 of these big men (mostly ex- nightclub bouncers) have caused enormous stress to streets of concerned residents.

The ridicule and coldness towards ordinary people, including many middle-aged and elderly, has been truly chilling.

I would like to ask that the Lord Mayor, in her role as Chair of Sheffield City Council, upholds the exemplary behaviour she expects of others.

I had carefully prepared and timed (at just over one minute) a question about a particular, much loved street tree on behalf of many local residents of a small street of social housing.

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I was interrupted by the Lord Mayor no less than three times and eventually stopped from asking my question.

I was shocked and surprised at her behaviour.

As a lifelong socialist and feminist, I couldn’t believe that a Labour Council would treat its citizens in such an undemocratic and rude way.

Later one Labour Councillor rang me to apologise for her hostility and that of Labour councillors towards the campaign generally.

I imagine this person wasn’t the only one embarrassed by her behaviour.

I was close to tears.

Sally Goldsmith