The story of a 20-year-old man who claimed a group of masked assailants carved a homophobic slur into his buttocks took a turn on Wednesday when the man told police that the injuries were consensual, Reuters reported.
The man told police eight people attacked him in the doorway of his home, cut his lip with a razor, and carved the word “faggot” into his buttock.
He recanted his initial claim of being attacked in a central Madrid neighborhood on Sunday, the Interior Ministry told journalists.
Spanish society had been rocked by news of the supposed attack, coming only months after a 24-year-old man was beaten to death outside a club in Galicia. Three people have been arrested in that case.
The ministry did not tell reporters the man’s motives or his identity.
Protests that were planned before the new information came to light were still held on Wednesday. Thousands gathered in Madrid and Barcelona, according to the Associated Press.
“We are tired of being attacked at any given moment.” 58-year-old Rafaela Corrales told the new agency in Madrid. “I don’t know if this last attack in Madrid is true or not. I don’t really care since we suffer all types of violence all year long.”
The LGBTQ+ group Movimento Marika Madrid said the news of the man consenting to the injuries changes nothing because there is still anti-LGBTQ+ violence in the country.
“Do you know why? Because in recent days there have also been attacks in Toledo, Melilla, Castellón and Vitoria,” the group wrote on Twitter.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had called a committee on hate crimes to convene on Friday over which he would personally preside. In response to the news on Wednesday, he said that this “cannot prevent us from seeing reality. Hate crimes against LGBTI people have increased.”