Christian activist arrested over homophobic protest at Pulse memorial
A Christian activist was arrested for a hateful protest at a memorial to victims of the Orlando massacre.
Events were held in Orlando this week to mark the first anniversary of the Orlando massacre, a mass shooting in which 49 people lost their lives inside a gay nightclub.
The attack remains one of the deadliest mass shootings on US soil in recent history. Many of the victims were LGBT and members of the Latino community.
However, a memorial event was marred by a trio of extremist Christian protester, who brandished signs featuring sickening homophobic language.
The signs included the messages ‘Warning: All homos will burn like foggots in hell’, and ‘Sin = Death’.
One of the protesters, 36-year-old Daniel Maguire, was arrested after ignoring police requests to move away from the club. Officers had designated a safe spot for them to protest, but Maguire repeatedly attempted to make his way back onto the Pulse property
Maguire, of Ruskin, Florida, was charged with breach of peace and resisting an officer without violence.
The crowd cheered as he was removed by police.
Sgt. Jerry Goglas explained to the Orlando Sentinel: ““Noticing the hostility of the situation, and the increasing volume of the crowd, I asked the sign holder if he would walk with us to the north to get him out of the crowd.
“He stated, ‘Aren’t you here to protect me?’ I advised him that although I was there to keep the peace and protect all persons involved, the crowd was very emotional and becoming increasingly hostile towards him.”
The police officer explained he feared the protester would “incite a brawl” and would disrupt “the peace and quiet of a peace vigil attended by people mourning the loss of friends and family members of the date of their death, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history”.
The other protesters were not arrested.
Aside from the protests, the events across Orlando went largely as planned.
Orlando Mayor Bobby Dyer said: “June 12 was the darkest day in our City’s history and a day that will forever be reserved to honour the memory of the 49 innocent lives taken from us too soon.
“This tragedy has deeply impacted our LGBTQ+, Latinx, other communities of colour and our entire City.
“Since the morning of June 12, 2016, we have come together to honor the victims, support their families and the survivors and thank our first responders in so many ways.
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He added: “Following the Pulse tragedy, we showed the world that Orlando would not be defined by the act of a hate-filled killer, but instead defined by our response of love, compassion and unity.”
“I am so proud that we are Orlando United.”
Florida Governor Rick Scott said: “The horrific terror attack at Pulse attempted to rip at the seams of our society, strike fear in our hearts and divide us.
“Yet, in the face of extreme adversity and loss, Floridians showed resiliency, bravery and love. Over the past year, our state, the city of Orlando and the many Floridians affected by this tragedy have shown incredible resolve as we continue to mourn the loved and lost.
“As we pause to honour the 49 victims of this tragic attack this Monday, my wife and I will say a prayer for each of them and their families.
“We will also be reminded of all the people who helped others in need. The law enforcement officers, first responders, medical personnel, faith and spiritual leaders and Central Florida families defined what Florida is all about. We care about each other and we came together when it was needed the most.
“This was an attack on Orlando, our state, the Hispanic community and on the LGBTQ community. It left a solemn impact on our state that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.”