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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 18, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 07
Lima, Peru police attack LGBT kiss-in
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Lima, Peru police attack LGBT kiss-in

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Thirty Peruvian police in full riot gear attacked 20 LGBT activists in Armory Plaza, Lima, on February 12, beating and arresting several activists and shoving a group of young Lesbians down a flight of stairs.

Police then pursued fleeing demonstrators into the Pancho Fierro Municipal Gallery, and into adjoining stores and coffee shops where the activists sought shelter from the police attack.

The LGBT activists had gathered in central Lima for a kiss-in, which they called 'Kisses Against Homophobia.'

The violent police response is documented in a five-minute video shot by Mary Vargas and Giancarlo Elias and narrated by Ruth Ramos, the political coordinator of MHOL, the Homosexual Movement of Lima.

Andres Duque of Blabbeando blog supplied English subtitles for North American viewers.

The video clearly shows demonstrators chanting 'No to homophobia! No to homophobia!' as helmeted police with clubs and plexiglass riot shields move in to disperse them.

Young women demonstrators then begin to yell, 'They are attacking us! They are trampling over our rights! Just for being Lesbians!'

As police began to shove young Lesbian demonstrators down stairs at the edge of the plaza, the people yelled 'Abusers! Abusers! We are Lesbians and Gays! We are being attacked!'

According to narrator Ruth Ramos, police officers hid their name badges and attacked activists who refused their order to disperse.

One officer reportedly beat 33-year-old Alicia Parra 'savagely' with a baton. Her present condition was not reported.

'We don't have weapons! We don't have anything to defend ourselves!' the demonstrators chanted.

After police invaded the Municipal Gallery to expel demonstrators, one of the activists is heard to say, 'They didn't kick anyone else out? In other words, they didn't kick anyone else out except for us. They identified us and started kicking us out with the city's backing? With the city's backing.'

Several officers are shown beating a young man and attempting to carry him away.

'You cannot fine me for being Gay!' he cried as police officers tried to subdue him. 'You cannot fine me for being Gay! Being Gay is not a crime! I am not a criminal! I am not a criminal! I am not a criminal for being Gay!'

Some demonstrators say into the video camera 'Smells like alcohol! It smells like alcohol! The policemen smell of alcohol!'

Others yell at police 'What a shame for Peru! What a shame for Peru! You should be ashamed!'

One officer then confronts the person holding the camera.

'You don't have a name tag so we'll be filming your faces,' she says.

'We don't want it,' the officer replies, as he tries to snatch the video camera. 'Film elsewhere!'

'Keep going! Keep going! Keep going!' the police officers tell the crowd.

'I have the right to walk by!' someone says. 'I am a Peruvian citizen! It doesn't matter to you?'

MHOL later issued the following statement:

'The Homosexual Movement of Lima (MHOL) repudiates these violent and anti-democratic acts and reminds everyone that the Ministry of the Interior recommends that police personnel stay away from discriminatory acts, prevent sexual attacks, guarantee free access to public sites and their safety, just as they should guarantee the freedom of expression, gathering and reunions between LGBT people according to the human rights manual.'

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