The protestor responsible for showering Sir Keir Starmer with glitter during his speech at the Labour conference, has offered his apology for making unsolicited contact with the party leader.
Yaz Ashmawi expressed his regret over the unexpected physical touch. However, he stood resolute in his commitment to the gesture of protest that involved the use of glitter.
Swaying under the suspicion of breaching peace during the protest, Merseyside Police arrested Ashmawi, a 28-year-old activist, only to release him on bail later. Ashmawi spent a painful stretch of 22 hours in police custody although he appreciates the officers’ respectful behavior towards him.
Reflecting upon the incident, Ashmawi expressed his distress over potentially making Sir Keir feel threatened during the controversial protest. He acknowledged the constant undercurrent of threat that politicians live with, and how his sudden contact might have heightened those fears in Sir Keir. Consequently, Ashmawi conveyed his deep apologies to Sir Keir for the physical contact during the protest.
His perception of the incident was one where the crossing of lines was related to the physical contact, not the protest itself. He steadfastly maintained that his actions of stepping on the stage and pouring the glitter were justified, it was merely the unexpected touch that he regretted.
He quaintly reminisced on the protest, labelling the cascade of glitter as a “peaceful spectacle”, one that continued to remind him of the incident as he kept discovering remnants of it.
The protest transpired during Sir Keir’s conference speech when the activist wasn’t unnoticed, sporting a T-shirt that connected him with a group calling themselves “People Demand Democracy.” Starmer, caught off guard, momentarily managed to keep the protestor at bay before security took over.
Despite the interruption, Sir Keir managed to resume his speech, later calling the activist an “idiot”, albeit expressing relief that the incident could have escalated to worse depths.
Shabana Mahmood, Labour Shadow Justice Minister, expressed concern towards the incident, particularly the security lapse that allowed the protestor to approach the stage. This occurrence prompted a review of security measures with extreme urgency to ensure a repeat of such an incident could be effectively prevented.