Peter Thatchell wins a blue plaque

By Ian Dunt

Veteran gay and human rights campaigner has won a blue plaque to celebrate his achievements.

The celebration will be attended by gay rights activist and actor Sir Ian McKellan.

“It is a big honour,” Mr Tatchell said.

“After so many years of demonisation by the tabloids, right-wingers, homophobes and even some people on the left, it is great to receive this recognition.”

Mr Tatchell is perhaps most famous for two separate attempts to conduct a citizen’s arrest on Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

He also ran against current Liberal Democrat deputy-leader Simon Hughes in Bermondsey, in what has been described as the dirtiest, most violent election in 20th century Britain.

“My political inspirations are people like Mahatma Gandhi, Sylvia Pankhurst, Martin Luther King and, to some extent, Malcolm X and Rosa Luxemburg,” Mr Tatchell said.

“I’ve adapted some of their ideas and methods to my contemporary struggle for human rights, and invented a few of my own.

“My proudest achievements as a human rights campaigner have been my two attempted citizen’s arrests of the Zimbabwean dictator, Robert Mugabe. They helped draw international attention to the human rights abuses perpetrated by his murderous regime. Even though I got badly beaten by Mugabe’s bodyguards and have ended up with some brain and eye damage, I have no regrets,” he added.

The blue plaques can be found around the city and celebrate the lives of famous or influential figures who lived in the capital.

They are all blue, apart from the one for Jimmy Hendrix, which is purple.