A petition has gained thousands of signatures to ensure Spain “never forgets” a man who died after being horrifically beaten in a suspected homophobic attack.
On Saturday (3 July), Samuel Luiz – a 24-year-old nursing student – was beaten to death outside a nightclub in the northern city of A Coruna, Galicia, in a suspected anti-gay hate crime. The attack began over a mobile phone, when the assailant and “two of his companions” believed Luiz was recording them.
The police described what followed as a “human pack kicking a youngster for more than 150 meters down a street,” the same distance between the nightclub and 2 Buenos Aired Avenue, which is where Luiz “fell to the ground as if he were dead”.
The same sources said the assailants “showed him no mercy” with “between six and 10 people still kicking him” when he was unconscious.
Following the attack, Waves of people filled Madrid to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community and to protest the death of a man over the weekend.
Seven witnesses have reported Luiz was attacked by a group who fatally injured him after calling him a “fagg*t”, as reported by El Mundo newspaper.
Luiz’s death sparked mass protests across the country, with activists joining together with signs and slogans protesting the mistreatment of Luiz and the LGBTQ+ community. One of the signs read, “Their love is worth more than your violence.”
Spain’s National Police said they arrested three people on suspicion of their involvement, according to EL PAÍS, two men and a woman aged between 20 and 25.
A petition, which has over 49,000 signatures, has been launched to honour the 24-year-old and rename Avenida de Buenos Aires in Luiz’s name.
“To ensure respect, honour the memory and institutionally support the victim’s social legacy, it is proposed to the A Coruña City Council to rename the avenue where the young man was brutally murdered (Avenida de Buenos Aires) with the name of Samuel Luiz,” the appeal read. “The city of A Coruña does not forget you, Samuel. We want you on our street forever.”
Following protests of Luiz’s death, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said he “trusts” that police will find those behind Luiz’s murder and “establish the facts,” adding: “We will not take a step backward in rights and liberties. Spain will not tolerate it. All of my support for his family and loved ones.”
Data, highlighted by Reuters, from the Interior Ministry, shows over 250 hate crimes related to sexual orientation or gender identity were reported in Spain in 2019.
Figures of reported hate and abuse crimes are expected to be higher. The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights has warned only a margin of these crimes are reported directly to the police.