The feminist attacked by balaclava-clad trans activists was today revealed as a gender critical chef from Nottingham who claims police threatened her with arrest – not the masked mob.
Greater Manchester Police has come under fire for the incident that saw Aleks Kovacevic, 44, ‘manhandled’ by a gang next to the city’s statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in St Peter’s Square.
The feminist has said the scuffle lasted for around a minute and she was pushed on to a wall by a group of men, or trans men, who also grabbed her arms as she waved her purple, white and green suffragette flag. Today footage of her being punched in St Ann’s Square, Manchester, in March also emerged, although trans activists accused Aleks of kicking a trans woman and insisting on calling her a man.
After the Pankhurst stand-off she won praise from JK Rowling, who shared the footage of incident on Twitter and said: ‘I never expected the right side of history to include so many people in masks intimidating and assaulting women, did you? But she never dropped her flag. Emmeline would be proud.’
‘We are literally a group of five middle-aged women. I climbed on the wall and one of (the counter-protesters) clung on to my leg and tried to pull me off, but when I jumped off the wall three of them just attacked me’, Ms Kovacevic told The Daily Telegraph.
‘The police officer was really strange about it, he told me that if it happened again I would be arrested for causing a breach of peace. Nothing was done. That whole scuffle lasted a full minute, my friends and another guy had to separate it.
‘The police came and told me that I needed to move, but my friend told me I didn’t need to move and I said “yes, as a matter of fact, I don’t have to move, I have the right to sit here” – and he told me if anything happens I will be arrested for causing a breach of the peace’.
The attitude of police has been criticised by Fair Cop, a group that works with UK forces to help protect freedom of speech. The group’s barrister and cofounder Sarah Phillimore said: ‘It is sadly not remarkable that the police chose to lecture a woman rather than protect her. It’s an inevitable consequence of a politicised police force’.
The clashes began when Ms Kovacevic and members of Standing For Women (SFW) held a rally under the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst, who was born on Moss Side. There was then a counter-protest by the Manchester Trans Rise Up (MTRU) movement. MTRU members denied the group in masks were part of their planned protest.
Footage of the incident also suggests that trans activists were yelling that the lone protester was a ‘fascist’ and a ‘Nazi’. MTRU removed the suffrage colours and put a trans flag around the Pankhurst statue’s neck. One feminist confronted the masked group and asked them to ‘blink once for yes, twice for no’ if they thought they were helping the trans cause.
Manchester Trans Rise Up claimed the day as a victory on Twitter, with supporters claiming they would be on the ‘right side of history’, and declaring: ‘They didn’t get hold of the statue at any point. We claimed the space for for the entire time. Well done’.
A trans activist and a woman are seen during the clash by the statue in Manchester
The two sets of activists tussled as they battled for position by the Emmeline Pankhurt statue on St Peter’s Square, Manchester
She later added: ‘I never expected the right side of history to include so many people in masks intimidating and assaulting women, did you? But she never dropped her flag. Emmeline would be proud’
Masked and hooded trans activists blocked a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in Manchester
JK Rowling ridiculed the activists for scoring ‘an unintentionally hilarious own goal’
The Harry Potter author said the trans activists looked like ‘ninjas’ as they stood in silence
Kellie-Jay Keen (pictured at the event), the founder of campaign group Standing For Women, organised the event that aimed to reclaim a part of Manchester for women’s voices in the face of trans activism (Credit: Kellie-Jay Keen)
Kellie-Jay Keen, the founder of Standing For Women told the crowd the opposing demonstrators ‘can’t take our thoughts and won’t take our rights’.
Ms Keen told MailOnline: ‘In 2022 nothing could encapsulate the assault on women’s rights so perfectly as masked men preventing women from speaking next to the Pankhurst statue.
‘Women face an existential threat posed by transgender ideology. An ideology that places men into women’s rights, spaces and even our language.
‘Women have had enough and we will continue to speak up in the face of squealing, entitled, tantruming men.’
On Sunday she told her supporters the masked trans activists had ‘decided to interlope into our spaces, into our conversations and we’re saying no’.
She said: ‘You’re not coming for our kids, you’re not coming for our spaces, whatever you think you’re going to gain from trying to trash women’s rights, it’s not going to happen. Not on my watch.
‘Women have decided to give up our spaces to men. They have listened to the cries of these nasty, entitled men and gone, ‘I feel sorry, I think you should come into our spaces. They only want to pee and masturbate in our toilets.
The gender critical campaigners supported by Rowling say that although gender is a social construct and can be chosen, sex is a biological fact and cannot be changed.
However, they say many pro-trans activists have conflated the meaning of the two terms and as such trans people have claimed they are a different sex to the one they were born with.
The pro-trans activists from the group Manchester Trans Rise Up dressed in masks to surround the statue of the suffragette leader, leading to a crowd of gender critical women moving to a different location
Manchester Trans Rise Up claimed the day as a victory on Twitter. The group said: ‘They didn’t get hold of the statue at any point. We claimed the space for for the entire time. Well done’
Ms Keen added: ‘They only want to convince our children that they also could join the cult of trans.
‘All we’re saying is can we not have men in our spaces? Can we not give our children mutilating drugs and hormones? Can we not encourage women to slice off their breasts?’
She added: ‘They can’t take our voices. They can’t take our thoughts and they won’t take our rights… I am not intimidated. I will not be silenced.’
Other gender critical campaigners joined her in speaking on the Speaker’s Corner Tour in Manchester on Sunday
Who was Emmeline Pankhurst?
Emmeline Pankhurst, from Manchester, is best remembered for organising the suffragette movement and winning women the right to vote in the UK.
One of the best-known founding members of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), she oversaw the group from its non-violent beginnings but later advocated for direct action as a tactic for gaining the vote.
She was arrested several times and after being convicted of conspiracy to commit property damage, she used a common suffragist prison tactic – a hunger strike – to secure better conditions for her fellow suffragettes.
When the First World War began, Pankhurst refocused the WSPU’s efforts on supporting the war, causing a split in the group and within her own family. Her daughters Sylvia and Adela were pacifists.
One of the best-known founding members of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), Emmeline Pankhurst oversaw the group from its non-violent beginnings but later advocated for direct action as a tactic for gaining the vote