The issue of abortion has sparked tensions following a pro-choice motion passed by students.
Anti-abortion and pro-choice protesters clashed on the main street outside Cardiff University on Wednesday afternoon.
This is not the first time two opposing groups have turned up at the same time to protest against each other’s stances with the police standing aside.
“Our argument as pro-choice is not pro-abortion. It is women having the right to choose,” said Rachel Beaney, one of the student protesters. “As much they have a right to be here we also have a right to be here.
“There should be an element of respect between them having their beliefs and us having our beliefs. And I don’t want any aggression or any violence. But some students will resort to that because obviously it’s very emotional,” she added.
The conflict comes from Cardiff University Students’ Union holding a meeting on 21 November with 800 people and approving a motion proposed by Wellbeing Officer for the feminist society to support women’s rights to abortion, according to BBC.
The decision sparked the anti-abortion campaign, Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform UK (CBR), to carry out a wave of protests by displaying a large image of an unborn human in front of the university.
Dozens of students criticised the graphic was inappropriate, and some pro-choice activists started going to the scene and using a huge white cloth to block the image.
Beaney said, “With them being here I think it would trigger a lot of trauma for a lot of people where they might have made that choice of abortion that might not be an easy decision for them.”
Since then, whenever CBR posted their new protest activities on Facebook the counter-protesters formed by around tens of students would go and stand alongside.
On Wednesday’s protest, there were only two anti-abortion campaigners standing next to the foetal image, while over ten students joined the counter-protesters to advocate women’s rights to choose whether they want to have an abortion.
A volunteer of CBR said, “I uphold the scientific position that life begins at fertilization. So, I think it’s very important. That we show people that humanity reminds people of the humanity of the unborn human.”
She, a mother carrying several children, added: “I know full well the feeling that they are alive and kicking in the womb… They have unique DNA which proves that they cannot be part of the mother.
“This is not about a mother’s body or autonomy because this human is not part of her body. So, as a mother, I can only be confirmed even more so.”
Another student joined the protest to support a pro-choice stand on abortion, demanding to be anonymous, said: “Firstly, I’m very pro-choice.
“I think that there are many issues surrounding abortion. And they can be very complex and nuanced and not everything’s black and white. So, the choice is often not safer but it’s just a better way of dealing with these issues.”
As a researcher working on foetal tissue, he then said: “We are trying to cure various diseases by using foetal tissue and we have some success with that.
“We’re trying to expand beyond the foetal tissue but it’s fundamental to helping those people have those medical conditions. And so, I’m also very pro its use in research when it is available.”
Two rival groups generally respect each other’s argument but use their own ways to deliver their voices to grab the public’s attention.
“I kind of went there every time I hear that they’re here. I come and I bring a sign,” said Beaney.
A spokeswoman of Students’ Union told BBC that they will not restrict students’ freedom to express their opinions on abortion.