Hundreds protest against rise in homophobic attacks in Madrid

·1 min read

MADRID (Reuters) - Hundreds of people gathered in central Madrid on Saturday to call for better protection for LGBT rights after a series of homophobic attacks that have shocked Spain in recent months.

People waved rainbow flags and carried banners reading: "justice", "touch one of us, touch us all", "we are being killed".

"We are here to protest against the continuous homophobic attacks and the constant aggressions that happen weekend after weekend," said protester Gabriel Escribano.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Friday chaired an urgent meeting of ministers, community leaders and police to discuss how to reduce hate crimes, which have been growing by around 9% a year since 2014, according to the Interior Ministry.

Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said on Wednesday hate crimes were on the rise and becoming more violent.

There have been growing calls for the government to take action since the killing of nursing assistant Samuel Luiz, who was beaten to death in July in the northwestern region of Galicia allegedly because of his sexual orientation.

Spain has long been praised as an LGBT-friendly destination, and was a pioneer of gay rights, becoming just the third country in the world to legalise gay marriage in 2005.

(Reporting by Michael Gore and Elena Rodriguez; Writing by Jessica Jones; Editing by Christina Fincher)

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