Spanish government reacts to alleged homophobic gang assault

“Without a doubt, this is the result of increased hate speech not only on social media but also by institutions and political party leaders,” said the government’s director-general for LGBTI Rights Boti Rodrigo. [EFE/Brais Lorenzo]

The Spanish government has convened an urgent meeting for Friday (10 September) over an alleged homophobic gang assault on a young man in Madrid that has raised the alarm over hate crimes in the country. EURACTIV’s partner EFE reports.

Police are currently searching for eight people who allegedly attacked the 20-year-old victim in plain daylight on Sunday by following him inside his apartment building’s entrance, insulting him, throwing him to the ground, lacerating his lip, and cutting a homophobic slur with a knife on his upper thigh.

Spain’s socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will chair a meeting on Friday with the National Plan to Fight Hate Crime Monitoring Committee, government sources told EFE.

Back in July, a young man was murdered in an allegedly anti-gay hate crime.

It prompted large demonstrations across the country in support of a growingly alarmed LGBTI community.

The government has vowed to act swiftly to counter hate crimes and any other intimidation tactics or aggressions victimising people for their sexual identity, race, or ideological positions.

“Without a doubt, this is the result of increased hate speech not only on social media but also by institutions and political party leaders,” said the government’s director-general for LGBTI Rights Boti Rodrigo.

According to official data, reported hate crimes grew by 9.3% in Spain during this year’s first half, in comparison to the same period of 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, a study by the National Bureau for the Fight against Hate Crime said that a majority of victims, some 89%, do not report the aggressions.

[Edited by Daniel Eck and Frédéric Simon]

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