Image: Holly Revel 

A number of London artists and actors have taken part in a giant selfie photocall in Trafalgar Square to protest against so called “HIV-phobic” remarks from the leader of UKIP.

The Act Up For Love protest was organised in response to Nigel Farage’s comments on immigrants with HIV, made during the election campaign.

The event was co-organised by ACT UP and the London Artists Projects, and featured the entire cast of AIDS play As Is.

Andrew Keates, the director of As Is who spoke at the event, said: “My childhood was filled with cowardly bullies whose social circles were built entirely around identifying those of us that were different and attacking us in packs.

“All these years later UKIP is taking the same childish, ignorant approach and today we responded with passion, love, truth and eloquence”

The peaceful protest also paid tribute to the founders of the LGBT liberation movement, and HIV activism.

Outside of the theatre world, the protest also included appearances from the leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennet, Vincent Manning from Catholics for AIDS Prevention and Support, and a number of HIV+ and HIV- migrants.

Dan Glass, spokesperson for ACT UP London, said: “Farage spread lies throughout the General Election to scare people about HIV+ migrants flooding the health service.

“Playing on similar fears, the Tories have put in place discriminatory health surcharges for migrants that turn NHS staff into border agents and scare vulnerable people from seeking medical attention.

“It’s an honour to be on Trafalgar Square as part of the new generation of ACT UP.

“Together we stand on the shoulder of giants, paying tribute to freedom pioneers such as the Gay Liberation Front and LGBT and HIV and migrant rights groups everywhere.”

Mr Farage defended his comments made in the election debates, and he said to the BBC: “”We want people to come who have got trades and skills, but we don’t want people who have got criminal records – and we can’t afford people with life-threatening diseases.

“I do not think people with life-threatening diseases should be treated by our National Health Service and that is an absolute essential condition for working out a proper immigration policy.”

A UKIP spokesman said: “Nigel Farage is the one leader who has the political courage to raise difficult issues and clearly millions of voters agree with that stance.”

Other speakers at the protest included spokespeople from the NAZ project.

The Act Up For Love Protest took place in Trafalgar Square at 6pm on June 15. For more information on the protest, click here.