A number of offensive posters have been put up around Leicester ahead of the city’s Pride festival tomorrow.
Bearing messages such as ‘Capital punishment for gays’ and ‘God abhors gays’, the posters were placed on an LGBT centre and around the route previously used for Pride parades.
Police believe a religious group may be responsible and are checking CCTV evidence to find the perpetrator.
Ian Robson, director of Leicester’s LGBT centre, told PinkNews.co.uk: “They must have been put up last night. We had staff working last night until 10pm so maybe it was in the early hours.
“They’re all round Leicester, on venues, even Kwikfit got one. They’re about Sodom and Gomorrah, capital punishment, that kind of thing. We’ve removed them now that the police have seen them.”
Robson said that although some people at the centre had been upset by the posters, they will not let it dampen tomorrow’s festivities.
He said: “What our view, at the centre, is, is that we’re very inclusive, we welcome everyone, from any religious group. So we’re sad that someone’s chosen to do this.
“We don’t want it to spoil our Pride. But we’re checking our security and making sure people are in twos, that kind of thing. People are a bit upset but it won’t spoil our day.”
Pete Bumpers, Leicestershire police’s hate crime officer, said: “The posters were put up in a small part of the town, probably along the old Pride march route in London road. There were probably about 20, printed on what looks like A4 paper with a laser printer, just on someone’s home computer.
“We’ve removed the vast majority and some have been taken away by forensics for finger printing. We’re also looking at CCTV in the area.
“We believe it could be from an Islamic group, a religious group. But we’re very open-minded.”
He added that although police would be present at tomorrow’s event, it would not be “overbearing”, adding that the aim was to let people enjoy themselves.
He said: “If anyone commits any offences tomorrow, police will deal with them in a very robust manner. We don’t accept that sort of thing from any groups.”
Leicester Pride usually proceeds peacefully, although the British National Party and the National Front did turn up at a Pride eight years ago.