Thessaloniki: Massive Outburst of Violence Against Two LGBT+ Youths

The Greek city of Thessaloniki was shocked on Saturday evening by an extremely violent attack on two queer individuals. An estimated 150-200 youths participated in the mass assault. They threw bottles and spat at the couple. On Sunday evening, many LGBT+ people gathered to demonstrate against the violence.
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The 21-year-old victims were walking on Aristotle Square in Thessaloniki on Saturday evening. They were quickly besieged by a group of youths, mostly consisting of men. This group quickly grew, with some Greek media outlets reporting 150 to 200 individuals. Many of them wore hoods and filmed the outburst of violence with their phones. The assailants spat at the victims and threw objects, including glass bottles, at them.

The couple sought refuge in a restaurant, but the violence did not stop there. The group banged on the windows, trying to convince the restaurant staff to throw them out. When the police arrived at the restaurant, 21 youths were arrested.

The attack sparked great indignation and anger within the LGBT+ community, who gathered on Sunday evening to demonstrate against the violence. According to Greek media reports, 13 rioters were arrested at that demonstration.

The city's mayor also spoke out: "We unequivocally condemn the vulgar, [discriminatory] attack in the heart of the city. Acceptance is a sign of culture and democracy. In the colourful, inclusive Thessaloniki, there is no place for this." Local LGBT+ organisations emphasise that there is still much work to be done in Thessaloniki, which is the European Pride capital this year.

Same-Sex Marriage

Although societal acceptance of LGBT+ individuals in Greece lags behind that of Western European countries, the orthodox-Christian country is slowly making progress. Last month, Greece legalised marriage for same-sex couples.

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