France: Gay cabaret dancer beaten unconscious by gang in Nice
A gay man was beaten unconscious at the weekend in the latest apparent homophobic attack in France.
The Local reports Raphaël Leclerc was punched and kicked after being jumped by three men when he and his partner left a club at around 5am on Saturday in the Mediterranean city of Nice.
“We were not kissing and we were not holding hands,” explained the 24-year-old. “A couple of minutes later there were three, who were shouting ‘hey gays’ at us, and then they ran at us.”
Mr Leclerc, a cabaret dancer, has shared images of his injuries on Facebook.
He posted a photograph hours after the incident, showing injuries including a missing tooth and a skull fracture.
There has been a dramatic surge in homophobic and transphobic incidents across France in recent weeks.
LGBT campaigners say the pending arrival of France’s same-sex marriage bill has been used by some as an excuse to carry out anti-gay violence.
The final vote on the bill is due to take place tomorrow.
With the key vote set to pass through the National Assembly on Tuesday the first same-sex marriages are set to occur in France in just a matter of weeks.
President Francois Hollande and his ruling Socialist Party have made equal marriage their flagship social reform since being elected nearly a year ago.
Last week, President Hollande condemned displays of homophobic violence. “The right to protest is recognised by our constitution and accepted by the French. But no protest must degenerate,” the president said.
He was speaking after France’s Interior Ministry confirmed that four people had been detained on suspicion of carrying out an attack at a gay bar in Lille.
The owner linked the incident to “tensions” over the country’s proposed same-sex marriage bill.
A smaller pro-equal marriage demonstration occurred in Bastille Square.
The city’s gay Socialist mayor, Bertrand Delanoe, headed the rival march, which organisers say attracted 15,000 people.
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