Vandals target Munich’s first gay maypole

A Munich gay group filed charges this week after unknown vandals took a paintbrush to the city's first gay-themed maypole.

Vandals target Munich's first gay maypole
The maypole before it was vandalized. Photo: DPA

Spattered with grey paint were depictions of gay life in Munich’s Glockenbachviertel neighborhood, where hundreds of gay and straight residents gathered last Thursday to erect the maypole, said Conrad Breyer, spokesman for the Gay Communication and Culture Centre of Munich (SUB).

“It could have been a stupid youth prank, but everywhere there were gay motifs – like a rainbow – exactly those points were painted. One could assume it’s an anti-gay act,” Breyer told The Local.

The vandalism likely happened late Saturday night or early Sunday, Breyer said. SUB representatives went to police on Monday, but the identity of the vandals remains unclear.

SUB organized the maypole with the cooperation of neighborhood officials, commissioning artists Robert C. Rore and Michael Borio to decorate the tablets that hang from the pole’s crossbeams. Following local tradition, other organizations were to commission tablets in coming years until the maypole is full.

The project required city permits and cost more than €1,000 ($1,552).

“We are upset to an inordinate degree about this act of vandalism,” SUB Director Lars Fröhlich said in a statement on Monday. “Five days ago the entire neighborhood – not just gays and lesbians – was putting this maypole up together and celebrating it with a party. Then a few people destroyed what many created with so much joy. This is totally unacceptable and makes us sad.”

The grey paint cannot be washed off, Breyer said. Organizers are weighing whether to ask Rore and Borio to paint the tablets again or to leave the vandalism intact as an object lesson.


German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.