LGBTIQ+ activists and supporters demonstrate against hate crimes at Puerta del Sol Square on September 11, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. Reuters/Susana Vera
September 11, 2021
MADRID (Reuters) – Hundreds of people gathered in central Madrid on Saturday to call for better protections for LGBT rights after a series of homophobic attacks that have rocked Spain in recent months.
People waved rainbow flags and carried banners: “Justice”, “Touch one of us, touch all of us”, “We are going to be killed”.
“We are here to protest the relentless homophobic attacks and the relentless aggression that occurs weekend after weekend,” said defender Gabriel Escribano.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez chaired an urgent meeting of ministers, community leaders and police on Friday to discuss how to reduce hate crimes, which have been increasing by nearly 9% per year since 2014, According to the Ministry of the Interior.
Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlasca said on Wednesday that hate crimes are on the rise and becoming more violent.
There has been growing demand for the government to act since the July murder of Samuel Luiz, a nursing assistant who was allegedly lynched over sexual orientation in the north-western region of Galicia.
Spain has long been praised as an LGBT-friendly destination, and was a pioneer of gay rights, becoming the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2005.
(Reporting by Michael Gore and Elena Rodriguez; Writing by Jessica Jones; Editing by Christina Fincher)