Protesters blockade anti-gay truck
PETER Madden will think twice before driving his anti-gay marriage truck to Lismore again.
On Saturday night the minister from Sydney parked his truck, which had billboard-sized anti-gay marriage messages on it, in Cathcart St before heading to a nearby motel to sleep.
He returned the next morning to find the truck defaced and blockaded.
Cars were parked at both ends of the truck and Lismore resident, Fairy Princess Amber, had locked her neck to the back of the truck.
Glitter, streamers and spray paint covered the truck and some of its tyres were deflated.
Protesters gathered yesterday and accused Mr Madden of vilifying gay people.
"People have been absolutely outraged and very hurt by this," a protester, who did not want to be named, said.
"The image on the right conflates homosexuality and pedophilia in a subtle way and 'the dark side' refers to us living in the dark because we're homosexuals and we're supposedly evil."
Mr Madden said he was exercising his right to free speech.
"Anybody who stands up and says anything is immediately branded a homophobe and full of hate," he said.
"They feel that I'm sending a message of pedophilia, which I'm not at all. I have a picture of a father with his son; that's why I put 'not my children' on the truck."
Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell spoke with Mr Madden and the protesters yesterday.
"I did express strongly to him (Mr Madden) that those views and that truck were not welcome here. The signs were linking homosexuality to pedophilia and those views are not welcome in Lismore," she said.
However, Cr Dowell said she did not condone the "malicious damage" caused.
Police monitored the protest and attempted to remove Ms Amber from the back of the truck. After failing to cut the lock with bolt cutters, police succeeded with a generator-powered saw.
While tending to Ms Amber, another protester chained himself to the side of the truck and police had to cut the lock from around his neck, too.
Mr Madden was heading to Brisbane to hold a prayer rally two days before the Queensland State election and he said the protesters would not stop him.
Late yesterday, there were reports police had impounded the truck.
To watch a video of the protest go to youtube.com/watch?v=UxXK82JrDjE.