A young gay man was brutally beaten to death outside a nightclub in Spain, triggering huge street protests across the country.
Samuel Luiz, a 24-year-old nursing assistant, was attacked in Galicia in the early hours of Saturday morning. While police are still investigating the incident, his friends and supporters say Luiz was the victim of a homophobic assault.
According to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Luiz left the nightclub in the city of A Coruña where he was with friends to make a call when he got into an argument with passers-by who accused him of filming them. Luiz explained he was on a video call but he was still attacked by one of the passers-by.
The attacker departed and later returned with 12 others who beat Luiz until he was unconscious, El Mundo reported. He died in hospital shortly after.
The attack has prompted thousands to march across Spain, including in A Coruña as well as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Salamanca, Bilbao and Zaragoza. Protesters are demanding justice for Luiz and protection for LGBTQ people from violence.
Luiz’s death comes after a string of high-profile homophobic incidents in European countries. In Hungary, anti-LGBTQ laws have restricted the teaching of LGBTQ values in schools, while Pride marches in Croatia and Georgia have faced violence and counter-protests.
Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s Prime Minister condemned the killing of Luiz.
“I’m confident that the police investigation will soon find those who murdered Samuel and shed light on what happened,” he tweeted. “It was a savage and merciless act. We will not take a step backwards when it comes to rights and freedoms and Spain will not tolerate this.”