Two more young gay men were the victims of a homophobic assault in Spain on the same day as the killing of Samuel Luiz, whose death has stirred a wave of protests.
Alejandro, 21, was allegedly punched in the mouth and head resulting in a burst lip Saturday (3 July) in València. His friend, a gay 21-year-old, was left bruised and his mobile phone stolen.
The victim and his friend, who has not been named, had been enjoying beers in a park after a night bar-hopping around the Plaza Honduras area when a group of young people approached them, Alejandro told LaMarea.com, a daily online newspaper.
One of the members of group, Alejandro recalled, asked if he or his friend had any money. “I don’t, but I do have a great ass,” he jokingly replied.
But Alejandro’s rejoinder ignited outrage from the man, who responded by hurling homophobic insults at Alejandro. “Seeing that I was gay, he took it as a horrible offence,” he said.
Victim of homophobic assault urges queer Spaniards to be ‘brave’
As his friend tried to stop the situation from curdling into violence, more than a dozen friends of the man abruptly appeared and mounted an attack against them both.
“F*g, give me your money,” one of the assailants barked.
The fine arts student was pushed to the ground, he claimed. “They beat me,” Alejandro said, “punched me in the mouth and head and smashed my lip.”
Alejandro alleged that his friend was left covered in bruises before fleeing the scene – only for one attacker to catch up with him and steal his bag and mobile phone.
Only hours before, Luiz, a 24-year-old nursing assistant, was slain after a similar attack where at least 12 men set upon him outside a nightclub in A Coruña, fatally wounding him.
Luiz’s death has gripped Spain for the days since, prompting thousands to pack the streets of countless cities and towns all across the country in protest.
As the unrest swept Spain, government officials have condemned the surge in anti-LGBT+ violence, with prime minister Pedro Sánchez calling out the “savage and ruthless attack” in a tweet Monday.
Interior Ministry data shows 278 anti-LGBT+ hate crimes were reported in Spain in 2019 – an 8.6 per cent increase from the previous year.
“All I ask is that you love us alone,” a wary Alejandro still in shock said.
“I have always received insults for being gay and it is already normalised, but we are seeing more cases of homophobic attacks each.
“We must be brave and denounce it to make ourselves visible, because who knows who the victim may be tomorrow.”