Protests have broken out across Spain after Samuel Luiz, a 24-year-old gay nursing assistant, was beaten to death in a suspected homophobic attack on Saturday, July 10.
Luiz’s friend, Lina, told El Mundo that he was attacked by multiple people early Saturday after they stepped out of a nightclub to make a video call in A Coruña, a city in northwestern Spain’s Galicia region.
Lina said a man and a woman passing by accused Luiz of trying to record them, and the man threatened to kill him if he didn’t stop filming, yelling a homophobic slur.
Lina said the two tried to explain that they were just making a video call but the man attacked Luiz and left him with a badly bruised face.
After Lina went back into the club to call their other two friends, the assailant returned a few minutes later with 12 other people who then proceeded to beat Luiz unconscious, CCTV footage showed.
The beating did not last much more than a minute, but it was so brutal that Luiz was mortally wounded, according to La Voz de Galicia, Galicia’s largest newspaper.
Emergency services tried to save him for two hours, but he later died at a local hospital.
By Thursday July 8, police said that they had arrested four people, aged between 20 and 25, suspected to have been involved in the killing.
Authorities have not ruled out further arrests.
The violent attack sparked public rage, and hashtags such as #JusticiaParaSamuel and #JusticeForSamuel trended on Twitter.
Thousands of people gathered across A Coruña, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Salamanca, Bilbao and Zaragoza, waving rainbow flags to demand justice for Luiz.
Spain’s prime minister denounced the killing and said Luiz’s killers would be brought to justice, tweeting, “We will not take a step backward in rights and liberties. Spain will not tolerate it.”
Just last week, Spain’s government passed a draft bill that would allow anyone over the age of 14 to self-identify their gender legally in what was hailed as a “giant step for LGBT rights.”
Sissi Hu contributed reporting from Valencia, Spain.