UPDATE: The alleged victim has since recanted his story, saying the carving was consensual. Get all the details here here.
Spain’s prime minister has condemned an attack on a young gay man after a mob of people carved a homophobic slur into his buttocks.
The attack took place on Sunday, Sept. 5, in the Spanish capital of Madrid. The 20-year-old victim said he was walking home around 5:15 p.m. when eight people “with their faces covered” cornered him in the entrance to his building, El País reports.
During the attack, the group called the man “disgusting,” “shiteater,” and “maricón,” the Spanish word for faggot.
One member of the group produced a knife and proceeded to threaten the victim, before cutting the man’s lip and ultimately carving maricón into his buttocks.
Police in Madrid told El País that the attack was “the first assault of this kind that we have heard of” and that it would be investigated as a hate crime.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez condemned the attack in a tweet, saying, “Hatred has no place in our society.”
“I roundly condemn this homophobic attack. We will not allow this,” he continued. “We will continue to work for an open and diverse country, where no one has to be afraid for who they are.”
Speaking to El País, Rubén López, coordinator for LGBTQ organization Madrid Observatory against LGTBphobia, said the local community was in a “state of shock.”
“First we thought that this could not just be homophobia, and had to be a settling of scores, something more. But it appears that it was,” López said. “If this is so, it’s terrible, it’s the toughest thing I’ve seen in Madrid in my six years at the observatory and my 17 years as an activist.”
The attack comes after another young gay man, 24-year-old Samuel Luiz, was called homophobic slurs and then beaten to death by a mob of people in A Coruña in July. At least 13 people were questioned over the attack and three people ultimately arrested.
At the time, Prime Minister Sánchez called the attack on Luiz a “savage and merciless act.” Earlier this year, his government introduced a draft law that would strengthen the rights of LGBTQ people in Spain.
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