Artist Christoff Gillen was handed a £60 fine for writing the word ‘Love’ in chalk in various places across Belfast.
Yesterday, Gillen used 6000 pennies to spell ‘Love’ on the pavement outside Belfast City Hall, as a form of protest against the fine.
Gillen said that a member of the public became physically threatening after finding him writing on the pavement, to which Gillen replied, “I was trying to create a rainbow of love.”
Unison, one of the UK’s biggest trade unions, was there to support the artist as he protested the fine.
A spokesperson for Unison said, “In a city that is plagued by hate, to fine someone for writing ‘love’ on the pavement is just totally ridiculous.”
She stated that they believe that the fine was homophobic in nature as other chalk artists have not been fined for similar actions.
Art student, Gearoidin Devine, was in attendance the day Gillen was fined and said it was ridiculous as the chalk would wash off with the rain.
Barbara Muldoon, the event co-ordinator, said, “People are outraged at the idea that this fine has been imposed. The reality is Belfast is a city that is scarred in sectarian graffiti and racist graffiti and has been for a number of years and only one person has been fined under this particular piece of legislation […] and it is Christoff Gillen.”
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