Police investigating potential hate crime as billboard erected by women’s rights activists defaced

Police are treating as a hate crime the vandalism of a feminist billboard challenging Assembly election candidates to define what a woman is.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 10:09 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 1:13 pm

Women’s Rights Network Northern Ireland (WRN NI) reported the defacement of the billboard, which was erected between the M2 and M3 motorways in central Belfast, to the PSNI.

The WRNNI believe women are defined by biology and oppose moves to allow men with genitalia but who identify as women from using women-only spaces such as toilets and changing rooms.

The group put up the billboard asking would-be MLAs throughout the election to state the definition of a woman as part of a UK-wide campaign to protect female only spaces.

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The billboard pictured near the M2 and M3 junction in Belfast. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press.

On Monday it emerged that one of their billboards had been vandalised with graffiti saying that a woman is “whatever she says she is” plus the terms ACAB (All Cops Are B*******) and F****** TERFS (a term for feminists who reject transgender ideology).

“WRN NI has reported the vandalism of our billboard to the PSNI as well as the nature of the language used in the graffiti that was threatening and anti-woman. We have witnessed the term TERF weaponised against any woman speaking up for our rights to define ourselves,” a WRN NI spokesperson said.

They continued: “On Monday we had a group of strange men taking photos of some of our women with their children in the park. Two of them exposed themselves during a recorded interview with WRN founder Heather Binning. Again this speaks volumes about the kind of sexual harassment women face daily.”

A PSNI spokesperson said: “Inquiries are ongoing into this incident, which police are treating as a hate crime.”