German’s Minister for Health Jens Spahn has been targeted with homophobic abuse by anti-lockdown protesters and COVID deniers in the city of Bergisch Gladbach.
The openly gay conservative was met with a torrent of abuse as protesters shouted ‘gay pig’ and ‘shame’ as he confronted a number of protesters who had gathered outside of an event for the upcoming local elections.
Spahn was elected in 2018 and has been a key player in Germany’s strategic response to the COVID-19 crisis.
In a video, Spahn is seen walking over to protesters to address them but is met by a barrage of abusive remarks.
Following the incident, Spahn told the Rheinische Post newspaper that “a dialogue must be ensured between officials and coronavirus deniers. But it only works if both sides are willing to listen… When people shout, spit and insult each other, it just doesn’t work.”
While support for Spahn from mainstream society is high, many COVID deniers have made him one of their main targets.
Due to the protests, another meeting in the town of Münster was forced to move indoors.
German government ministers have been reacting to the homophobic abuse received by Spahn with Germany’s economy minister Peter Altmaier writing on Twitter:
“Anyone who spits at and molests democratically elected politicians infringes the German constitution and makes an outsider of themselves.”
Wer demokratisch gewählte Politiker bespuckt & anpöbelt, verlässt den Boden des Grundgesetzes und stellt sich selbst ins Abseits. Die Solidarität der Demokraten gehört jedem, der so behandelt wird! https://t.co/48V1DpMCuM
— Peter Altmaier (@peteraltmaier) August 31, 2020
In Ireland, Minister Roderic O’Gorman was the main target of a ‘Save the Children’ rally which gathered outside the Dail calling for his resignation.
Executive Director of Amnesty Ireland Colm O’Gorman called out the discriminatory abuse and hate speech targeted at LGBT+ public figures across online platforms in a powerful radio interview.
During a Lunchtime Live radio piece, the Executive Director addressed the online attacks against Equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman and how this has become part of a larger issue. The Green Party member previously released a statement to address these comments as “rooted in homophobia, stoked by anonymous, far-right Twitter accounts.”
In response to online hate speech and discriminatory abuse targeted at LGBT+ public figures, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland Colm O’Gorman shared: “The reality is that if you’re LGBT – if you’re a gay man, a lesbian, a bisexual person or a transgender person – and if you dare to step into public life in any way to do work that you believe in, you will at some point very quickly begin to encounter deeply homophobic slurs.”
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