An estimated 30,000 people turned out onto the streets of Rome last week to protest against a spate of homophobic attacks in Italy.
Gay groups and politicians from all the main political parties joined the demonstration, held last Thursday.
According to Associated Press, the city’s mayor, Gianni Alemanno marched with the crowds. The right-wing former neo-fascist helped hold a banner reading “Rome is against intolerance and all racism”.
In the latest incident, a young gay man was brutally beaten in a gay nightclub in the central Piazza Salvemini. He has undergone reconstructive surgery to his face. One man has been arrested.
On September 1st, a couple of firecrackers were thrown at a bar on San Giovanni in Laterano, known as Gay Street. 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. Italy’s hate crime laws do not mention homophobia, something LGBT groups have been campaigning over for years.