LGBTQ activists demand ‘paradigm shift’ in fight against hatred
200-strong protest in Barcelona marks one week since string of homophobic attacks
Two hundred people attended on Saturday a protest in Barcelona called to condemn the string of homophobic attacks reported the weekend before, including a violent assault on a beach that left one person hospitalized.
"This is a response to the attacks seen last Saturday, which were not isolated but were exceptional in the sense that they were really violent," said Eugeni Rodríguez, the president of the city’s Observatory Against Homophobia, the main organization behind the protest.
Rodríguez called for a "paradigm shift" in the fight against LGBTQ-phobia in Catalonia. "We must get ourselves back to work — if this were to happen again, or if it’s happening already, we must put all mechanisms in place."
"This is a response to the attacks seen last Saturday, which were not isolated but were exceptional in the sense that they were really violent"
Eugeni Rodríguez · President of the Observatory Against Homophobia
The president of the Catalan Federation of LGTBI platforms, Manuel Peinado, stressed that homophobic attacks not only take place in Barcelona, "but all across the territory," and urged to make the situation of the LGTB community outside of Barcelona visible.
In 2021, the Observatory has documented 77 incidents regarded as LGBTQ-phobic, ranging from non-physical aggressions to last weekend’s attack, which saw a group of men attacking two gay couples in the Somorostro beach.
Public authorities have expressed their support to the LGTBQ community, reassuring its members that violent incidents are "extremely rare," but also claiming no increase in homophobic attacks has been reported from previous years.
"We’re seeing similar figures," said Marc Serra, the city’s local councilor for Citizens’ Rights. Official figures say 28 aggressions have been reported so far in 2021. In 2020 as a whole, there were 60, and in 2019 around fifty.