Apr 022015

2015-03-24_new_8047349_I2A  gay artist in Belfast has been hit with a £60 fine after protesting for same-sex marriage by chalking the word ‘love’ on pavements – but he had the last laugh.

Christoff Gillen was charged £60 under anti-graffiti laws for his protest, writing the word hundreds of times in Belfast City Centre, to protest the ongoing ban on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

A council spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph: “The fine was issued after the person informed our warden that he intended chalking the word ‘love’ 1,000 times across city centre streets (without seeking prior permission) and under no circumstances could we allow him to do that.

“We have issued one fine for graffiti under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2011, Part 4 (Graffiti and defacement section).”

Some accused the council of heavy-handedness for issuing a fine, given the city’s problem with graffiti when the installation caused no lasting damage

Barbara Muldoon told USI: “People are outraged at the idea this fine has been imposed.

“The reality is Belfast is a city that is covered 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 anti-graffiti legislation in the past year – and it is Christoff Gillen.”

However, Mr Gillen has had the last laugh – recruiting friends to help spell the word ‘LOVE’ with the 6000 pennies he will use to pay the fine.

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