News (World)

Hundreds of people form human shield around library to block anti-LGBTQ+ protestors

Counter-protesters wave a trans Pride flag outside the Cork City Library.
Counterprotesters wave a trans Pride flag outside the Cork City Library. Photo: Screenshot

Counterprotesters formed a human shield to prevent far-right demonstrators from shutting down a library in Cork, Ireland, over the weekend.

On Saturday, approximately 300 people gathered outside the Cork City Library in a show of solidarity with library staff and to counter the nearby “Ireland Says No” rally, where 100 far-right demonstrators were protesting the availability of LGBTQ+ books on library shelves.

According to Echo Live, far-right protesters have already succeeded in shutting down the Cork City Library twice this year. The library has become a target for right-wing nationalist protesters demanding that LGBTQ+ books be banned. The Cork City Council has closed the library during previous demonstrations in an effort to ensure the safety of library employees, the CorkBeo reports.

But on Saturday, the library remained open to the public, with counterprotesters from groups like Cork Says No to Racism and Cork Rebels for Peace waving Pride flags, singing, and blocking the “Ireland Says No” demonstrators from entering.

“The main goal for today is that the library stays open and the staff can go to work and not worry about being harassed,” Trans+ Pride Cork co-founder Saoirse Mackin told Echo Live. “At the end of the day, people can decide what’s appropriate for them to read, and their parents can decide what they want their children to read.”

“It should be down to parents and children, not a group of people trying to wipe a series of books off the face of the earth,” Mackin added.

“The library is open today, which is good, business as usual,” Cork City Council member Mick Nugent told CorkBeo. “It’s about equality, it’s about liberty, it’s about fraternity and it’s about diversity. We’re supporting all communities that decided to make Cork their home.”

“We traveled down because this is not just affecting Cork,” one of two women who said they were members of the Irish Writers Union said, according to “There have been attacks like this on libraries across Ireland and we think it’s important to take a stand, support the workers who are being targeted and support the right of libraries to have the right to choose the books they want to have.”

Cork North-Central’s parliament member Thomas Gould told Echo Live he was proud to have spoken at the counterprotest. “It is peaceful and a constructive rally where people are standing in solidarity with the LGBT and the trans community, and those who chose to make Ireland their home,” he said. “It is all about equality and respect, and that is the core message of today.”

The demonstration was largely peaceful with both groups remaining apart. But as the Irish Examiner reported, “Ireland Says No” protesters rushed one counterprotester in a wheelchair after he approached them attempting to drown them out with an air horn. Police intervened and one man was arrested.  

“It doesn’t matter how many times they come back. How many times we need to do this,” one speaker with Cork Rebels for Peace told the crowd on Saturday. “Because we will never allow the far right to stand unopposed on our streets.”

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