A 32-year-old has been arrested in connection with the beating of a young gay man in Florence last week.
The 26-year-old victim has undergone surgery after being brutally attacked in a gay nightclub in the central Piazza Salvemini. He sustained fractures to his nose, cheeks and jaw and has had metal places and screws inserted into his facial bones.
The suspect, thought to be a builder, was arrested by police at his home on the outskirts of Florence. A 33-year-old man has also been detained.
According to news agency AKI, the victim and his friends had met the suspects by chance and agreed to go to the gay bar together. It claimed the alleged attack took place after “misunderstandings” and “unwelcome advances”.
This is the latest attack on the gay person in the last few weeks in Italy.
On September 1st, a couple of firecrackers were thrown at a bar on San Giovanni in Laterano, known as Gay Street.
Although initial reports said these were bombs, police have now said they were firecrackers. Witnesses said four men were seen running from the area.
One man was taken to hospital with a minor injury and a scooter was damaged.
The previous week, a lesbian woman was reported to have been threatened by a young man on the same street, while a gay male couple were attacked in a separate incident. One was stabbed and is in a serious condition.
In another incident, nightclub Qube, home of the LGBT Muccassassina festival, was targeted by arsonists but was empty at the time.
Following the attacks, Italy’s largest gay rights organisation Arcigay, has called for more legal protections for LGBT people and is asking parliament to urgently expand existing laws.
It is currently organising marches to protest for new rights. Italy’s hate crime laws do not mention homophobia, something LGBT groups have been campaigning over for years.