Misc 25/06/2021

A homophobic and a sexual aggression in Barcelona during the night-time festivities

The attack on a gay couple comes in a context of great concern about the violence of aggressions against the LGTBI community

3 min
The flag of the movement waving at the rally against LGTBIfobia, in the center of Barcelona.

BarcelonaTwo serious aggressions during the night of Sant Juan in Barcelona. On the one hand, the Mossos d'Esquadra have arrested a man in Esplugues de Llobregat as the alleged perpetrator of a crime of sexual assault on a woman. The Mossos had received the notice at 4.40 am on Thursday for some events that would have occurred on public roads. The man had been arrested shortly before 5 am.

In addition, the Mossos d'Esquadra are also investigating a homophobic aggression against two men during the festival, in the Gràcia district of Barcelona. The two who were assaulted were taken to hospital with bruises. Now the Mossos are looking for the perpetrator or perpetrators of the aggression.

The facts occur in a context of great concern about violence against the LGTBI community, after an attack in late May in which five men beat up two gay couples on the beach in Somorrostro. The commissioner Joan Carles Molinero said at the time, in statements to ARA, that the victims suffered a "disproportionate" and "gratuitous" degree of violence. After receiving the complaint of the four assaulted and collecting several testimonies, the police are looking for the five perpetrators and are also investigating whether it may be an organised group acting exclusively for homophobia.

In fact, a few days later about 200 people rallied in the center of Barcelona to reject both this and two other homophobic attacks that occurred the same weekend. Convened by the Observatory against Homophobia and the LGTBIcat Platform, the event served to demand the deployment of the law of rights of the group of 2014 to specify the penalty regime in order to prevent attacks going unpunished. This same week, the entity has warned that incidents against LGTBI people continue to rise. If in 2019 the Observatory registered 160 incidences, in 2020 there were already 189, 18% more, according to the report State of the LGTBI-fòbia a Catalunya 2020. Since January 1st, 2021, 90 have been recorded.

The President of the Observatory, Eugeni Rodríguez, pointed out that some of the "serious aggressions" are committed by "young teenagers who go out in gangs" and assured that their way of doing is "legitimised by a discourse that comes from the extreme right", in reference to Vox. Rodriguez lamented: "This is their victory: relativizing the rights of LGTBI people".

Both the Interior Minister, Joan Ignasi Elena, and the Department of Equality and Feminisms have condemned the two aggressions. Elena has made two statements through Twitter assuring that while situations like these happen "we can not speak of normality". Faced with this, the Minister has announced that they will hunt down "hatred and discrimination with all their energy" and that they will accompany the victims. "Fanaticism is a form of intolerance in which the least relevant thing is what you defend", he reflected.

The Department of Equality and Feminisms has expressed the same perspective, through the same social network, which has reminded the victims of LGTBI-phobic aggressions and male violence that they are not alone. The Ministry has reiterated that for the first group there is the LGTBI Comprehensive Attention Service (SAI) and that for victims of sexist violence there is an advisory network throughout the territory.

The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, has also condemned the homophobic aggression of this morning in Gràcia. "No hate crime has any place in our city. Barcelona is a proudly diverse city and in our streets everyone should be able to walk freely, dress as they want and love whoever they want", said the mayor in a statement. Colau has offered her support to the victims through the Office for Non-Discrimination.

With the exception of this incident, Colau applauds the behaviour of the rest of the neighbours for having made the night "calmer than other years" thanks to the civility of the citizenship. The rest of the neighbours and the good image of the city, says the mayor, are "co-responsibility" of everyone.