Riot Police Deployed as Sydney Council Reinstates LGBT Books in Libraries

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Sydney Council Reinstates LGBT Books Amid Protests

Council Meeting Begins Amidst Tension

In a chaotic evening, Cumberland City Council in western Sydney reversed its ban on LGBT books from public libraries. The session began with the national anthem, followed by four hours of heated debate and protests, necessitating the presence of NSW Police.

Overturning the Ban

The council voted 12-2 to lift the ban on same-sex parenting books just before 11 pm on Wednesday. Caroline Staples, a local grandmother who led the campaign to reinstate these books, expressed her relief and satisfaction. She had gathered over 50,000 signatures in support of same-sex parenting literature.

Protest Outside the Council Chamber

The controversial meeting sparked significant unrest, drawing around 500 protestors to the Merrylands council chamber. Cumberland police initiated an operation to manage the “unauthorised protest.” Riot police and dog units were deployed to maintain order as pro-LGBT supporters clashed with opponents of the book ban. Despite the tensions, no arrests were made at the scene. However, one woman was later arrested for allegedly assaulting a hotel staff member after leaving the area.

Heated Debates Inside the Chamber

Inside the council chamber, the debate was equally intense. One speaker emotionally declared that banning such books could lead to tragic outcomes for children. Several attendees were ejected for disruptive behavior as Mayor Lisa Lake struggled to maintain order.

Former MP and One Nation campaign director Craig Kelly denounced book banning as “abhorrent.” In contrast, councillor Mohamad Hussein argued that the book contradicted Islamic teachings and community values. Steve Christou, who had initially proposed the ban, argued that materials on same-sex parenting should be restricted to the adult section, a suggestion dismissed by his colleagues.

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Resolution Passed Amid Contentious Atmosphere

Despite Christou’s objections, the council ultimately voted to reverse the ban at 10:45 pm. Christou and Eddy Sarkis were the only councillors to oppose the resolution.

Background and Reactions

The reversal came just weeks after the original motion on May 1 to remove books depicting same-sex parents from publicly funded libraries. Christou had championed this proposal, labeling the book Same-Sex Parents by Holly Duhig as “disturbing.” He admitted to not having read the book, but argued that it was inappropriate for young children and contradicted the community’s beliefs.

The ban’s reversal followed national attention and criticism, leading to the reinstatement of same-sex parenting books. Notably, the contested book had only been checked out once in the past five years.

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