Police in Lima, Peru turned water cannons on activists Saturday to disrupt an annual event called "Kisses Against Homophobia," according to the Washington Blade.
The demonstration was held at Lima's Plaza de Armas, a public space, where approximately 25 LGBTQ people gathered, some kissing and hugging according to Chola Contravisual, who spoke to the Blade, which reported a prior assault took place in 2011.
According to George Liendo of Promsex, a Peruvian LGBT rights group that took part in the event, Lima authorities will not allow any LGBT demonstrations in the public square and yet routinely permit religious processions, cultural events and other demonstrations.
The author of a post on the website Sin Etiquetas wrote that he was assaulted by a police officer as he tried to help an activist, while some claimed the water cannons sprayed kerosene. That detail could not be independently confirmed.
"The hope that our country and society is better and equal when it comes to sexual diversity is increasingly lost. This is a clear sign of homophobia, " the activist Vero Ferrari told Sin Etiquetas.
Last year, a bill sponsored by Peru's first openly gay lawmaker which would have extended civil unions to same-sex couples, was voted down in committee.
Monsignor Luis Bambarén, bishop emeritus of the city of Chimbote, expressed strong opposition to the legislation calling its sponsor, Congressman Carlos Bruce, a “maricon,” a Spanish slur, meaning “faggot.”
“Congressman Carlos Bruce is making a fool of himself with all of this, appearing — excuse me for the term — like a faggot in the middle of everything,” said Bambarén, as translated by the Peruvian Times. “He himself has said he is gay. Gay is not the Peruvian word, the word is faggot.”
However, according to the Blade, the country has made some progress recently, electing the first transgender woman to public office in 2014 and signing on to a United Nations anti-LGBT violence resolution that same year.
Watch video of activists clashing with police while protesting in Lima, below.