The cause of a young gay man in Chile who was attacked and will be left permanently scarred with swastikas on his chest has prompted an outcry for hate crime laws in the South American country.

Daniel Zamudio, 24, was attacked in Santiago at the weekend by an unidentified group.

His leg was broken and he suffered severe head injuries. He is now in a medically-induced coma.

Doctors said swastikas drawn on his chest with a knife would leave mild scars, the Santiago Times reported.

Mr Zamudio’s parents believe his assailants were neo-Nazis and said he had been threatened before.

Chilean gay advocacy group Movilh is appealing for witnesses.

Rolando Jimenez, president of Movilh, told the press: “We will file appropriate legal action on Thursday or Friday of this week and we’re asking for an urgent meeting with the Interior Minister.

“The Chilean state cannot afford to have a passive attitude about violence toward homosexuals.”

Rodrigo Hinzpeter, the country’s Interior Minister, said “added urgency” would be given to an anti-discrimination law currently making its way through the legislature.

In a statement, he said: “There is nothing more detestable than to build a fraternal society that disrespects and disregards diversity.

“I think the violence displayed in attacking Daniel Zamudio for his sexual orientation is behavior that, as a society, we need to eradicate once and for all.”

According to the BBC, Mr Hinzpeter also backed calls for hate crime laws.

Gay artist Ricky Martin tweeted in Spanish yesterday: “No more hatred, no more discrimination. I hope that justice is done NOW. Lots of light to Daniel and his whole family. #strengthdanielzamudio”

Jaime Parada, also of Movilh, told The Santiago Times: “This was a completely irrational action done by a group of very sick people. For us at Movilh, this is a very grave situation. It’s very sad for society.”