Current Affairs

Mass gay kiss-in protest in Rome

Yepoka Yeebo August 3, 2007
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Over a thousand same-sex couples took park in a mass ‘kiss-in’ last night, the second such protest after two men were arrested for ‘public indecency’ in front of the iconic Roman monument last week.

The amorous demonstration was called by Italian gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender association Arcigay.

The two men, identified only as Roberto L, 27 and Michele M, 28, were arrested by seven armed Carabinieri and held for 45 minutes last week.

An extract from the police report, published by Italian daily Corriere della Sera, said that the couple, “had their trousers and underpants down.”

Arcigay said the couple were just kissing after a night out at one of the gay bars lining a street near the Colosseum.

“And who wouldn’t want to kiss in the moonlight by the Colosseum?” said Roberto in an interview on RAI radio.

“It was incredibly romantic.”

Last night Arcigay also proclaimed a 500-metre section of Via San Giovani, near the Colosseum, ‘Gay Street.’

The street has recently become home to several gay venues, and Arcigay said it would be a “point of reference for the gay and lesbian community.”

Activists then marched to the Colosseum for the kiss-in.

Last Sunday, couples held the first sit-in with collective kissing in front of the Roman monument.

Politicians and campaigning groups say the arrests were symptomatic of a rising tide of homophobic harassment in Italy, but the police force, the Carabinieri, say they were simply following the law.

“They acted because there was a couple that was committing a lewd act in front of one of the most viewed monuments in Italy,” said Carabinieri official Alessandro Casarsa, speaking to AP.

“We apply the law to all in the same way, men and women. True discrimination would have been to not arrest them.”

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