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Police arrest protestors during Strauss-Kahn speech at Cambridge University

Reuters/Paul Hackett

Police intervened at Cambridge University after scuffles broke out on Friday during a protest by about 200 protesters against a speech by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former IMF chief accused of sexual assault. At least two people were arrested. 

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Angry students shouted "DSK, go away" and "shame on you" and held up a banner saying "rape survivors don't get this platform".

The protesters' shouts could be heard from inside the packed room where Strauss-Kahn  spoke Friday evening, but he dismissed them, according to a source inside the closed door session.

Earlier, a lawyer for the hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo, whose claims of sexual assault led Strauss-Kahn to resign as International Monetary Fund chief in May, condemned the invitation to the politician to speak at the university’s debating society.

Dossier: The Strauss-Kahn affair rocks France, IMF

"It's an affront to all victims of any sexual crime that he's here, being given this forum to speak," Douglas Wigdor, who flew in especially from New York, told about 100 students at the university's law faculty.

"For some strange reason Strauss-Kahn thinks he can go around the world and talk about the sovereign debt crisis and the state of the European economy without being questioned about what he did to an innocent woman."

Strauss-Kahn quit as IMF chief after chambermaid Diallo accused him of sexual assault in New York.

US prosecutors dropped criminal charges against him in August, but she is seeking monetary damages in a civil lawsuit.

The 62-year-old, once considered a favourite for the French presidency, continues to be dogged by scandal over his sex life and now faces an investigation in France over an unfolding prostitution and corruption scandal.

The Cambridge Union has defended inviting Strauss-Kahn to address students, saying he was "exceptionally well qualified" to speak on the global economy, adding that they had invited him before the sex allegations emerged.

The first hearing in Diallo's civil case against Strauss-Kahn will be held in a New York court on 28 March.

On the same day, he is due to appear before investigating magistrates in the French city of Lille on charges linked to prostitution and corruption.

 

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