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Boat race protester told to leave UK

Trenton Oldfield, an Australian national, was ordered to leave the country this week after the Home Office decided that Oldfield’s presence in the UK was not ‘conducive to the public good’.

Oldfield has lived in the UK for ten years and is expecting a child with his British wife this week. He was released from prison in December after serving two months of the sixth month sentence that was given to him after he interrupted the 158th boat race on the Thames.

Oldfield interrupted the boat race as a protest against elitism. He has publically justified his actions, claiming that, “People tell me that on the day of the race, 500,000 people looked up the word ‘elitism’ on Google. It sparked a debate.”

Oldfield plans to appeal against the judgement. He has argued, “No one was expecting this. I have a tier one visa, as a highly skilled migrant, and I was sentenced to less than a year. The lawyer said I had nothing to worry about because it was less than a year. It feels to me that this is a very vindictive decision, very political and very much an overreaction.”

The Home Office has stated in response, “Those who come to the UK must abide by our laws.”

The protest last year saw Oldfield swim into the path of the crews, halting the race for 25 minutes. Oxford had initially been in the lead before they had to stop, although Cambridge eventually won the race after it was re-started.

The decision to force Oldfield to leave the UK has sparked controversy. Mitch Mitchell, a member of the campaign group Defend the Right to Protest, opined: “The authorities are cracking down harder and harder against anyone who raises a voice.”

A petition to reverse the decision has been launched on change.org and had received over 1800 supporters by Tuesday.

One Oxford student agreed with the Home Office’s decision however, commenting, “I think it’s a great example of why you shouldn’t mess with Oxford – we’ll have you deported if you do.”

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