VIDEO: Gardaí called to NUI Galway as students confront Christian activists
Gardaí were called to the scene of a confrontation between students and anti same-sex marriage campaigners at NUI Galway this afternoon.
A lunchtime demonstration by members of a Mayo-based family of Christian activists faced oppostion from students who took down and binned two posters opposing same-sex marriage.
The family (understood to be a father with his three sons and two daughters) were campaigning for Enoch Burke, who is running for the position of Equality Officer in the college's up-coming student union elections. (Enoch Burke is understood to be the auditor of the Christian Union Society in NUIG.)
Most of the group's posters related to the election, but they also displayed three posters opposing same-sex unions.
In opposition, students staged a mock same-sex wedding to loud applause. Students also took down two of the posters and binned them, an observer told breakingnews.ie, at which point the family called the gardaí.
Gardaí in Galway have confirmed they were called to the scene. We are awaiting confirmation of any action taken, but understand there were no arrests. Gardaí have since left the scene.
A member of the students' union asked the students to disperse and urged them to express their opinion through the ballot box in the upcoming student elections, which are due to take place tomorrow.
Speaking to us in the last few minutes, Wil Organ, a researcher in the college's biochemistry department, said: "One member of the family is still holding onto one of the posters and praying."
At its height, about 100 students gathered at the scene of the confrontation today in the college's main concourse. An estimated 80 are still present and conducting a sit-in. It is understood members of the Christian Union Society have arrived to support the family.
Members of the college's GIG (Gay In Galway) group and their supporters display "Love Not Hate" posters today.
Efforts to contact Enoch Burke for comment have as yet been unsuccessful.
Update 5.50pm: More students have joined the protest, as pictured here by Will Organ:
Update6.30pm The protest has now ended, with all parties dispersing.
(Pictures by Wil Organ)