Press Release: New gay bashing incident in central Athens
Two young men were the target of a blatantly homophobic attack in central Omonia Square in the early morning hours of Sunday, 26 August 2012. One of the men, Stefanos Agelastos, is a gay activist and a member of Athens Pride. As they waited for a bus, two Greek men passing on a motorcycle asked them if they were gay. When Mr. Agelastos replied “yes,” the two Greeks got off their bike and proceeded to brutally beat them. Mr. Agelastos and his companion were injured, but fortunately not seriously.
Mr. Agelastos immediately reported the incident to the Police, who appeared cooperative but then refused his request that they escort him the several blocks to his home, even though Mr. Agelastos expressed fear that his attackers might be lurking there.
Athens Pride strongly condemns this particular incident, which unfortunately is neither isolated nor random. It stresses in particular the overwhelming lack of state protections for LGBTs. It is extremely concerned over the ever increasing frequency of homophobic assaults (gay-bashing) that have come to its notice. Most of these incidents, however, are never recorded since very few of the victims have the courage to report them.
With the deepening Greek economic crisis there is a disturbing increase of organized attacks on vulnerable social groups. Hate crimes and racist violence are the greatest threat for a society in crisis. The state has a mandate to protect all its citizens. The quality of a democracy is measured by how it treats its most vulnerable groups.
For the Organizing Committee
Andrea Gilbert, Spokesperson