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Lyra McKee mural in Florida vandalised with ‘absolutely disgusting’ anti-LGBTQ graffiti | UK News

A mural dedicated to murdered journalist Lyra McKee has been vandalised in the US state of Florida.

A swastika, a target and anti-LGBTQ+ graffiti have been spray-painted on the mural of the Zebra Youth Organisation, which supports LGBTQ+ youth.

Ms McKee died after being hit by a bullet during rioting in the Creggan area of Londonderry on 18 April 2019, with dissident republican group the New IRA linked to the killing.

Read more:
How ‘brave’ Lyra McKee covered her struggle of growing up gay in Belfast

The incident sparked revulsion and condemnation across the world.

A mural was unveiled to Ms McKee in Orlando, a city she spoke about visiting in 2017, a year after a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in the city, killing 49 people.

Orlando’s council also passed a resolution offering sympathy of the people of the city to Ms McKee’s loved ones.

Member of the Florida House of Representatives Anna Vishkaee Eskamani described the graffiti in a social media post as “absolutely disgusting”.

“Will do what we can to identify who did this and hold them accountable,” she posted on the social media website X, formerly known as Twitter.

The mural was cleaned up by volunteers with Zebra Youth.

In a post on social media, Zebra Youth said: “Today Zebra Youth and LGBT+ Center Orlando – The Center’s beautiful murals were vandalized with hateful homophobic and transphobic messages and n*zi symbols.

“We are working with the Orlando Police Department to identify and prosecute this horrible hate crime.

“We appreciate all of the community support and are doing everything to ensure the safety of our youth and staff.

“We will not allow hate to win.”

Undated handout photo issued by Chiho Tang/Oranga Creative of Lyra McKee. the copyright holder. A 52 year old man charged with the murder of the journalist will appear Londonderry Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

The vandalism comes months after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed four bills restricting LGBTQ+ rights in the state.

One of the bills bars trans people from using the public facilities that align with their gender identities. Another restricts drag performances in front of children.

Meanwhile, Florida teachers have said they have removed books from their classrooms and decided not to form LGBTQ+ clubs as a result of what critics have called the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” law.

The law bans instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity “in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards”.

Essex pub that displayed golliwog dolls graffitied and vandalised | UK News

A pub where golliwog dolls were seized by the police has been graffitied and had five windows damaged.

It follows the collection of the racist caricatures being taken from the White Hart Inn in Grays, Essex, as part of an investigation into an allegation of hate crime reported on 24 February.

The dolls are based on 18th century minstrels, and the pub had previously displayed a collection of about 30.

It was vandalised at about 12.40am on Sunday, with the police not ruling out the incident being linked to the dolls.

Essex Police district commander Tony Atkin said: “Inquiries are taking place to establish what happened in the lead up to this incident and to identify those responsible, and includes viewing CCTV footage.

“One line of inquiry is that the criminal damage is linked to a previous incident that we are currently investigating, also linked to the White Hart Inn.

“We continue to investigate that incident and would ask the public to allow us to do so, remaining calm.”

Pub banned from winning awards

The pub hit the headlines after the MailOnline reported that Home Secretary Suella Braverman said Essex Police “should not be getting involved in this kind of nonsense” and instead focus on “catching criminals”.

The force later denied being directly reprimanded by Ms Braverman.

The White Hart Inn was recently banned from being considered for any awards by the Campaign for Real Ales (Camra) and the group said it would not be included in its Good Beer Guide “while these discriminatory dolls continue to be on display”.

Read more:
Suella Braverman makes views ‘very plain’ to police
Essex pub handed awards and publication ban by Camra

But Chris Ryley, who runs the pub with his wife, Benice, told the BBC that “a mountain has been made out of a molehill”.

He added the dolls were “part of our history” and said the pub was receiving more support than abuse and it was still open and trading.

The pub's TV captured the police confiscating some of the dolls
The pub’s own CCTV cameras captured police confiscating some of the dolls

‘I can’t see any harm’

Mrs Ryley previously said the dolls had been donated by her late aunt and customers, and had been on display in the pub for nearly 10 years.

She said: “They’re my childhood history, it’s a part of our inheritance. I can’t see any harm.

“I really am angry because what they’ve taken away is valuable.”

Mrs Ryley refused to accept the dolls, or the pub, are racist, saying they frequently hosts Indian weddings. She has said she does not understand how people could be offended by the dolls.

She added: “If they don’t like it, they don’t have to come through the door.”

No arrests have been made in connection to the alleged hate crime.