HIV positive immigrant holds ‘hug me’ sign in Thanet

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Gay rights activist Bisi Alimi was campaigning against Nigel Farage in Thanet South when he was racially abused.

Mr Alimi fled Nigeria in 2007, after coming out live on television and having his life threatened, and he has been living in the UK ever since. He is also HIV positive.

He was manning an anti-UKIP stall in Thanet South, where Mr Farage is standing as a candidate, when he was called a “lazy immigrant”.

In reaction to the abuse, he decided to hold up a sign saying “I’m a immigrant. Hug me or a ask me a question.”

Nigel Farage has been outspoken on “health tourism” by immigrants with HIV. Last week, he said the NHS was “incapable” of treating Britons with HIV due to immigrants.

Mr Alimi told The Mirror: “I decided to carry the placard as a way of giving immigration a face and also allowing people to ask me questions to ally their fears of immigrants.

“It was such a powerful turn around of events that many people told me they wanted to vote UKIP but after asking me questions changed their mind.”

He told the story of one who made a particular impression on him: “He stood afar from me for a while, kept looking at me. He was there with his wife.

“Then the wife walked up to me and started engaging with me. She hugged me. Then the man came shook my hand and said, thank you for doing this.”

“Then I said, ‘You know you want a hug’, to which he answered ‘yes I sure do want a hug’ and then we hugged.

“I told him like I did to others ‘Please don’t vote UKIP’ and he said ‘to hell I won’t’.

“I love Thanet South.”

Mr Farage continues to be outspoken about immigrants with HIV, despite many of his statements being proved false.