Cairo, Sept 30 (EFE).- At least three people were injured Saturday in downtown Beirut when the Freedom March in defense of LGBT rights was attacked by a group of purported Christian extremists.
As the march passed through the central Shohada and Riad al Solh squares, a group of men on motorcycles, allegedly members of the Lebanese far-right Christian group Soldiers of God, tried to impede its progress. The men chanted slogans against “any kind and form of homosexuality in the streets of Beirut,” the official Lebanese news agency ANN reported.
Shortly after the march began, the bikers attempted to paralyze it, while others from the same group went to the Ministry of Interior to request an order to cancel the march. The bikers threatened the parade and chanted slogans against the legalization of homosexuality.
The Progressive Socialist Party declared on its X account (formerly Twitter) “rejection and condemnation of the attack against the population in downtown Beirut that took place today, regardless of any consideration.”
It also reminded the security forces that “they must arrest the attackers and bring them to justice,” as “they are obliged to fulfill their duty to preserve freedom.”
Videos of the incident were circulated on social networks, where many activists and human rights organizations criticized the violence of the extremist group.
One of the videos shows a young man with a bloodied head, while others try to prevent further aggression by the bikers.
The Beirut-based NGO Legal Agenda said in X that security forces were forced to protect activists and journalists after the attackers threw stones at them.
According to the organization, the constant aggression forced participants in the march to “replace it with a sit-in.” The organizers also issued a statement denouncing “methods of repression and attacks on public and private freedoms” and calling for “the implementation of the provisions of the constitution” to guarantee freedoms.
This event comes almost a month after a group of extremists stormed an LGBT bar in Beirut that was hosting a drag queen show. The attackers, identified by Amnesty International as members of the group Soldiers of God, shouted anti-gay slogans and beat some of the attendees.
In another example, the film “Barbie” was released a week late in Lebanon after a controversial censorship attempt by the Minister of Culture, Mohamed Murtada, who saw “homosexual promotion” in the blockbuster.
Hostile rhetoric against the gay community has increased in recent weeks after the leader of the Shiite group Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, spoke out against homosexual relationships, going so far as to say that those who engage in them should be “killed”.
Although Lebanon is considered one of the least conservative countries in the region, with the greatest freedom of expression, the LGBT community still faces fierce opposition, and last year the authorities banned the celebration of events organized by the collective. EFE sr-rsm/ics