Five gay people were the victims of “barbaric” attacks in a single weekend in Barcelona, Spain, fuelling concern among officials and activists.
The Observatory Against Homophobia (OAH) said Sunday (30 May) on social media that five gay men had been injured in three separate attacks.
In the most serious of the string of violence, a man required facial surgery after he and his friends were attacked on Somorrostro Beach.
As two same-sex couples and their straight friends walked along the beach in the Barceloneta neighbourhood at 10pm on Saturday (29 May), armed men cornered them, TOT Barcelona reported.
After letting the straight friends flee the scene, the brutality began. The assailants set upon the gay men, bursting into “a lot of aggression” as they spat on and threw sand at the couples.
“One of them came up to us and kicked one of us and that’s when we got up and they started the blows,” a victim told the outlet. “It was horrible.”
And seemingly underscoring the level of impunity felt by the homophobic attackers, nobody on the beach sought to help them.
“They tore our clothes, threw us to the ground; my boyfriend has been left injured in the mouth and we have been told in the emergency department, where we have spent the whole night, that he will need maxillofacial surgery,” he added.
Discharge paper seen by the outlet says that the 34-year-old victim who required surgery suffered a maxillary fracture and several bruises.
It came only hours after another gay man was beaten in the Gràcia neighbourhood. On Twitter, the victim, Marc Sagt, said that at around 9am a group of men started to cruelly mock him before abruptly kicking him in the end.
The incident left him visibly bruised – and wary of the rocketing rate of homophobia in Barcelona.
“These kinds of experiences are just the tip of the iceberg,” he tweeted. “Until when do we have to continue putting up with these attacks?”
The third attack that capped off a weekend of fear and vigilance for the community came 9pm on Sunday. A gay man was strolling through the Barcelona Auditorium when a bystander began to heckle him, calling him a “f***ing fag”, and then swung at him.
Speaking to local newspaper The News 24, OAH president Eugeni Rodríguez denounced the spate of attacks. “It is a spiral that we are not used to,” he said of the “barbaric aggression”.
“It is terrible that, after the pandemic, we are in this situation.”
This year alone, the capital city of Catalonia has seen at least 74 anti-LGBT+ attacks, according to the OAH’s data.
Such violence has, Rodríguez, fuelled “growing fear” within the OAH and that he has sought help from city officials to “stop this spiral”.
“We will never normalise this situation,” tweeted Marc Serra Solé, Barcelona council’s head of citizenship rights.