Brutal attack prompts Spanish PM to hold hate crime meeting

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez walks prior to his meeting with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera at the Moncloa palace in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

MADRID (AP) — Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is convening an urgent meeting of a committee that oversees efforts to fight hate crime after hooded attackers beat a 20-year-old man in Madrid and used a knife to carve a slur on one of his buttocks.

Sánchez wants to “take a personal lead” on the issue and will attend the meeting, government spokeswoman Isabel Rodríguez said Tuesday after a Cabinet meeting.

She said that “an attack like this … alarms us all as a society.”

In the attack last Sunday afternoon, the man was assaulted as he entered the apartment building where he lived in a neighborhood of the Spanish capital.

The assailants first shouted anti-gay profanities at him, before slashing his mouth with a knife and then using it to etch a slur on his rear, according to police sources quoted by Spanish news agencies EFE and Europa Press.

Activist groups say attacks on LGBTQ people are increasing in Spain and announced plans to hold street protests in coming days. The activists claim that official statistics capture only a fraction of the problem because many incidents aren’t reported.

Last July, in another high-profile case, a 24-year-old man died in an attack that sparked widespread condemnation after friends of the victim claimed he was targeted and beaten to death for being gay.

Police are investigating Sunday’s attack, which was condemned by Spanish political leaders. Police haven’t reported any arrests in the case.

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