Hundreds of people demonstrate in Madrid against an increase in homophobic violence.

Hundreds of people rallied in central Madrid on Saturday to demand improved protection for LGBT rights following a spate of homophobic crimes in Spain in recent months.

People carried rainbow flags and banners that said “justice,” “touch one of us, touch us all,” and “we are being killed.”

“We’re here to condemn the incessant homophobic insults and aggressions that occurs weekend after weekend,” protester Gabriel Escribano stated.

 

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.

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