Spanish police announced they had apprehended three men over the killing of Samuel Luiz, a 24-year-old nursing assistant. Luiz had been beaten to death in the northwestern city of A Coruña in Galicia.
In the very early hours on Saturday, July 3 Luiz was assaulted near a club, according to The Guardian. Luiz died later in a hospital.
“The investigation remains open until the facts are fully clarified,” the Spanish national police tweeted, adding that more arrests in the case are possible.
Luiz’s friends told Spanish outlet El Mundo that he had left the club briefly to video chat with someone when two people accused Luiz of filming them. One of the men beat Luiz in the face, the friends said. A few minutes later they were joined by 12 others who attacked Luiz, leaving him unconscious. Friends say that Luiz was recording his friends, not the men.
LGBTQ+ groups in Spain had organized large demonstrations on Monday calling for justice after Luiz’s killing. According to reports police turned out in riot gear and at times beat the crowds with batons.
Local politicians have criticized the police for their reaction to the protests. A local green party spokesperson, Mónica García, was just one of those critics, writing on Twitter about the police actions and posting a video of the police clashing with protestors.
Hate crimes against LGBTQ+ have increased by 8.6 percent in Spain between 2018 and 2019. In 2019, 278 hate crimes were reported, according to data from the Interior Ministry and reported by Reuters.
On Tuesday, two gay men were allegedly attacked in Valencia, Spain on Tuesday by a crowd of young people for being gay, reported La Marea.
Luiz’s killing and the attacks come a week after Spain’s Pride Parade and after a draft law passed that would strengthen the rights of LGBTQ+ people.
Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, posted on Twitter in support of the investigation.
“I’m confident that the police investigation will soon find those who murdered Samuel and shed light on what happened,” Sánchez wrote. “It was a savage and merciless act.
“We will not take a step backwards when it comes to rights and freedoms and Spain will not tolerate this.”