News24

Gays attacked in Rome

2009-09-03 18:02

Rome - Hundreds of people demonstrated against intolerance and discrimination on Thursday in reaction to a series of assaults against homosexuals in the city.

About 300 people assembled for a sit-down strike in the Via San Giovanni in Laterano.

The street near the city's famous Colosseum is considered Rome's "Gay Street."

The protest came after three assaults against homosexuals within several days in which unknown assailants on a motorcycle threw homemade firecrackers at a gay meeting place on Via San Giovanni. One man was injured.

Mayor Gianni Alemanno condemned the attacks and has arranged for an increase in police presence by October.

Opposition politicians, however, say that the 2008 election of Alemanno, a member of the post-fascist National Alliance party, has made Rome an "open city for fascists".

A gay couple was attacked at the entrance of a bar by a knife-wielding right-wing extremist in Rome two weeks ago. One of the people remains in hospital.