On March 9, American activist Brittany Pettibone and Austrian activist Martin Sellner were detained while attempting to enter the United Kingdom through Luton Airport. The UK Home Office said in a statement that “Border Force has the power to refuse entry to an individual if it is considered that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good.” They were kept in a prison until being released and deported back to Austria on March 11. On March 12, Canadian journalist Lauren Southern was denied entry at Coquelles, France, where the English Channel Tunnel joins the European mainland with the UK. Ten observations on these events follow.

1. The British government clearly mistreated Pettibone, Sellner, and Southern. In a video uploaded to Youtube on March 12, Pettibone and Sellner gave their account of their experiences. After being detained separately due to having different passports (US and EU), they were not allowed to speak to each other or use their phones and were guided everywhere by guards. They were interrogated separately concerning their intentions for entering the UK, then were kept in separate holding cells for several hours. Sellner was denied entry due to being the co-founder of Generation Identity and the possibility of Antifa violence. Once Pettibone admitted her intention to interview Tommy Robinson, founder of the English Defence League, she was asked if she also interviews Ku Klux Klan members, as though they are somehow equivalent. After being denied entry, Pettibone and Sellner were not allowed to leave to a destination other than Austria or from a port other than Luton, which violates English law. They were then held in a prison building at Heathrow in which security officials repeatedly misinformed each about the other’s whereabouts. While there, they were told not to discuss any political issues for fear that an incident may occur. During their ordeal, each was perp-walked through the airport in handcuffs on two occasions.

In an interview with Stefan Molyneux on March 13, Southern discussed her experiences. She took a bus that was traveling from France through the Channel Tunnel to England, which usually has lax border enforcement that is exploited by migrants. She said that officials ‘did a double take’ upon seeing her and said that they needed to ‘check some things’. They then had Southern get off the bus, searched her luggage, and took her to a detention center. After questioning by the border guards, she was turned over to the UK police, who detained her under the Terrorism Act 2006. During questioning, she was asked about her friends, a speech she recently gave to a Belgian nationalist group, and her religious views. Upon saying she was Christian, Southern was asked if she was an extremist and how she felt about running over Muslims with a vehicle. (Note that such terrorism has historically occurred in the reverse.) The police responded to her incredulousness by saying that they “have problems with right-wing terrorism too,” as though Islamic extremists are not right-wing in their social values. They demanded access to Southern’s phone and laptop, which she refused despite ominous threats. In response, she demanded legal counsel. This stopped the interrogation, then the UK Border Force brought her a form saying that she was banned from the UK for “racism” based on a social experiment in which she displayed posters that said “Allah Is A Gay God” in Luton on February 24.

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