Spain plans to tackle rising hate crimes

FILE PHOTO: LGBTIQ activists and supporters protest against homophobic crimes, in Madrid
FILE PHOTO: LGBTIQ activists and supporters protest against homophobic crimes in Madrid
FILE PHOTO: LGBTIQ activists and supporters hold a sign during a protest against homosexuality at Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid, Spain, September 8, 2021. Signal ‘Justice!’ read. Reuters/Sergio Perez

September 10, 2021

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain will create special groups within the interior ministry and police force to prevent hate crimes and support victims, the government said on Friday, amid mounting public pressure to contain a rise in such attacks.

According to the Interior Ministry, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez chaired an urgent meeting of ministers, community leaders and the police to discuss how to reduce hate crimes, which have increased by about 9% per year since 2014. Used to be.

The meeting was called after a man said he was attacked in the city of Madrid last weekend by a gang that had instilled a homophobic solution in his buttocks.

Although the man later withdrew his statement, homophobic violence was already in the news since the murder of nursing assistant Samuel Luiz, who was beaten to death in July allegedly over his sexual orientation. LGBT rights groups plan to hold a rally in Madrid on Saturday.

While attacks against the LGBT community have received the most attention in Spain, other forms of discriminatory violence are also on the rise, particularly against ethnic Roma, or Gitanos.

“We must also work specifically to tackle hate crimes against Gitanos, which have increased by more than 57% in 2020,” Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlasca said.

The committee agreed to increase hiring for the National Anti-Hate Crime Unit and will provide more details of a new three-year plan at a later date.

On Wednesday, Grande-Marlaska said the normalization of discriminatory speech on social networks and in the public sphere is creating a breeding ground for intolerance.

Accusing the government of jumping to conclusions based on unverified claims, several opposition politicians have called for Grande-Marlasca’s resignation amid the embarrassment caused by the withdrawal statement.

(Reporting by Nathan Allen, Editing by Andrei Khalip and Gareth Jones)

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