When I arrived for the protest Paul Imrie one of the cornerstone trustees who sat in on my discussion with Shinners the other week. He was standing across the road for a while with a video camera as some sort of intimidation tactic, similar to those i have seen used by the Scientologists. Imrie is an ex-police officer who confirmed Shinners' lie that you need police permission to protest (which you don't) and that I could be arrested.
One of Shinners' customers (pictured below) verbally and physically assaulted me. He called me a "fucking arsehole" as he entered the cafe and then left and as he walked past me he aggressively slammed into me with his elbow and shoulder as he passed me. Given my spine injury this was very painful and I have been in a lot of pain since and am finding it difficult to stand and walk. I reported the incident to a couple of police officers who were nearby and when they couldn't see the guy down the alley he went down, they went in the cafe and Shinners said he didn't know anyone by that description. As the police were telling me this the man had circled round and was approaching the cafe again, so one of the officers took him aside and took his details. There are CCTV cameras on the street that recorded the incident and rather than leave the protest then, I have a appointment to give a statement at the police station at today. The man reentered the cafe after talking to the police and I popped in and asked Shinners if he knew the man, but he claimed he was just a customer, but didn't know him by name. I informed Shinners that the man had assaulted me, but the man remained in the cafe until after I left at 3.20pm, 20 mins after the cafe had closed. I took a couple of pictures of him, just in case he had given false details to the police. When I was taking a few pictures of the cafe from across the street he left and walked round the back and at one point I saw him peering around the corner of the building, staring at me.
While the protest was mostly just myself there were a few protesters who were in the cafe staying out of the cold and wind as they had young children with them. Early in the protest they got my attention and gestured to their phone to take a photo and took a picture from inside the cafe and shortly afterwards the police arrived as someone had complained that I was holding up signs AGAINST the window, (which was not true) in an attempt to get me moved on. The protesters joined me outside for a while before leaving and we discussed the situation in Uganda and what Shinners had done. I spoke to a number of people leaving the cafe about Shinners actions and the situation in Uganda. One man looked at my sign and said "no, the Russians got it right, give them the elbow."
A number of local business owners and employees approached me throughout the day to praise what I was doing, give me encouragement and support and offer me a hot drink.
I would have hoped for a better turnout but the weather was pretty terrible and a lot of people were waking up to blown down fences after the stormy weather last night and apologised that they could not attend.
Thank you to everyone who could make it and thank you to everyone who gave me support and encouragement. Please spread the word and boycott Shinners' Cafe and make sure that the good people of St Neots no longer help finance Shinners' Homophobic message of hatred towards gay people.
Please click below to read the rest of the blog...stopugandanantihomosexualitybill.blogspot.co.uk