By News Reporters
Hundreds of people supporting pro-choice gathered in Bedford Square this evening (30 March) to oppose an anti-abortion group who had organised a prayer vigil outside the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) clinic.
Members of the 40 Days for Life Group have been standing outside the door to the clinic and in the square across the road and trying to deter women seeking abortion advice from entering the clinic. It is this tactic that has angered the pro-choice protesters and it is seen by many observers as American-style anti-abortion extremism.
Just before 7pm on Friday evening both groups were roughly equal in size with about 150 in each camp separated by steel barriers which the police had erected to keep them apart. Legal observers from the Legal Defence & Monitoring Group (LDMG) were also in attendance.
However, the ranks of the pro-choice group steadily swelled to more than double the size of the 40 Days for Life group. Extra police were deployed and the officers present gave up trying to keep the north side of Bedford Square open to traffic such were the numbers of pro-choice protesters.
The crowd was briefly swelled to over a thousand people as the monthly Critical Mass cycle ride entered the square. The Critical Mass front riders had deliberately led the ride in support of the pro-choice protest, according to one of the riders.