An original translation by SIMONXML and suggested by LinaN
“The attackers in the metro quoted the Koran while beating up the two young men”
Created : 06-03-2014 17:17
SOCIETY – After the attack on the Vice Versa gay bar in April 2013, this time it was a couple of students who were attacked on Monday evening in the metro, because they were holding hands. The Lille gay associations are on the frontline to break the prejudices.
Ludovic Saulnier, regional representative of SOS Homophobia, in front of the Saint-Maurice Pellevoisin metro station in Lille, where the violent homophobic attack took place. Photo : M.P/Metronews
The homosexual community is still in shock. The violent verbal and physical attack on two students on Monday night in the metro by five individuals has had a profound effect. Their only crime: holding hands. While two of the aggressors have been placed in custody, the associations have not forgotten the attack that occurred in the ‘Vice et Versa’ gay bar in April 2013, on the sidelines of a demonstration against same-sex marriages.
Officially, public authorities do not identify homophobic acts. But, according to SOS Homophobia, in 2011 and 2012 more than 30 complaints were made to the association in the north of France. The Department ranks third in the number of national reports of homophobic acts. “People are starting to talk and prosecutors are increasingly making the decision to classify these offenses as an aggravating circumstance”, reports Ludovic Saulnier, Regional Delegate.
Fueled by religious extremism
According to Ludovic, however, Lille is still a more “tolerant” city than others of the same size. “Overall, there have not been cases recently as violent as these two, even if there are regular attacks on cruising areas,” he adds.
However, according to Franck Danvers, president of Lille Lesbian & Gay Pride, the movement against same-gender marriages has fanned religious extremism. “The attackers in the metro quoted the Koran while beating up the two young men”, he states. Then, to make things happen, activists from the Flamands Roses collective will be in the Lille metro this Friday distributing leaflets and opening up a dialogue with the public. “Getting the word out is important”, observes Nin, a member of the Lille association.” We must continue to mobilize so that we are no longer afraid to be seen in public places.”