Police criticised over handling of Christian 'hate preachers' at Sheffield Pride event

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Student leaders have hit out at South Yorkshire Police over their handling of a protest by a Christian group at a Sheffield Pride event.

Sheffield Hallam Students' Union say people at the event were targeted by 'hate preachers' but officers did nothing to stop the abuse from the group.

Protesters were quickly surrounded by some of those in attendance, who started pro-LGBT chants, and were eventually escorted away from Endcliffe Park.

Transgender Nathan Fortune, aged 22, from Sheffield, walked into the middle of the group holding up a sign saying ‘God adores you’ (pictured above).

Police said they were examining a number of complaints received since the event last weekend.

The Students' Union told the BBC it has written to South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings to complain about the police.

Education officer Luke Renwick, who attended the event on July 30, said a group of about 15 people had targeted attendees, branding them 'an abomination' and saying they were 'going to hell'.

He said police did not take action until people at the event began shouting back at the group.

Mr Renwick said: "We expected the police to move these people on or move them back from the event.

"It was so wrong what they were saying and they just stood there."

A spokeswoman for Dr Billings said the policing of the event was a matter for South Yorkshire Police but that he would listen to concerns from the community.

Assistant Chief Constable Jason Harwin said the force was aware of concerns about a protest group.

He told the BBC: "While everyone has a democratic right to freedom of expression, it does not give individuals the right to commit any criminal offence.

"We will also be looking to meet with members of the LGB&T community to discuss any concerns they may have following the event."