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Protests Welcome Controversial Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Office

London Bi Pandas
Via Twitter

LGBTQ activists are among the most visible criticizing the new British leader, who installed an anti-human rights Cabinet as he took office.

Protesters shut down Downing Street in London as new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson took office Wednesday.

That included protests by the London Bi Pandas, an LGBTQ activist group who showed up in force. The group marched through the streets with signs protesting "Borisism" and the celebrity politican's goals.

Dubbed online and in graffiti around town as the "FckBoris" protests, the Bi Pandas created some of the most recognizable imagery from all day protests, releasing pink smoke into the streets.

Signs calling the Tory leader out for bigoted comments filled London as demonstrators shouted "Fuck Boris" and "Fuck the Tories," according to Metro.

Protesters formed a human chain to physically block Johnson from going to Buckingham Palace for an audience with the queen, as captured on video by the BBC.

Groups like Imaam LGBTQI also showed up to fight feared bigotry against both Islamic and queer citizens.

Waving signs reading "Love Is Not Haram" (haram is an Arabic word for forbidden) could be spotted in the streets.

The pushback on Johnson, a Brexit enthusiast and a politician often compared to U.S. President Donald Trump, has ramped up as Johnson transitioned to power.

In his first day in office, Johnson appointed his brother as minister of State and put in a new Cabinet despite taking over as prime minister from Teresa May, who announced in May that she would step down.

Pink News reports the Labour Party already decried Johnson's new Cabinet as the "most anti-Human Rights" administration in decades. That includes Home Secretary Priti Patel, who voted against marriage equality, and Dominic Raab, who has made statements saying he does not want to create an easy environment for trans youth to transition.

The U.K. also has wrestled with controversy over whether children should be taught about LGBTQ relationships in schools. Many eyes have turned to Johnson picking Gavin Williamson as his new Education secretary, who has a mixed record on LGBTQ rights. As a member of Parliament, he voted against marriage equality, but as Defense secretary pushed for protections for LGBTQ military members serving overseas, including in countries with restrictive laws like Brunei.

Johnson himself has a mixed record on LGBTQ rights. He has a documented history of antigay slurs but as London's mayor in 2003 became the highest-ranking Conservative to support marriage equality.

He did address LGBTQ rights in his first speech as prime minister, according to Pink News.

He said the U.K. was "loved around the world for our inventiveness, for our humour, for our universities, our scientists and armed forces, our diplomacy, for the equalities on which we insist, whether race or gender, or LGBT, or the right of every girl in the world for 12 years of quality education."

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