Spanish minister warns hate groups are singling out LGBT+ people after terrifying knife attack

A protester with the face painted in the LGTBQ flag colours

Spain’s government has warned of an alarming upswing in radical groups targeting LGBT+ people after a man was attacked by thugs who carved the word “f****t” carved on his backside in Madrid.

Interior minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said the groups have been launching attacks against Spaniards who are “different”.

“Within these groups, the objective is being different due to a personal or social condition, such as race, ethnicity, ideology, religion, sexual orientation [and/or] gender identity,” he told the Cadena Ser radio station Wednesday (8 September).

“Yes, it is taking place, yes, it is being taken into account.”

Prime minister Pedro Sánchez, meanwhile, is to start a task force specifically to stamp out such crimes driven by hatred against the LGBT+ community.

Pedro Sánchez. (Oscar Cañas/Europa Press via Getty Images)

According to Reuters he will chair a hate crime commission meeting on Friday to analyse the uptick in attacks.

Isabel Rodriguez, a government spokesperson, told the press Tuesday: “Hate crimes must receive the highest social and political condemnation.”

She added that parliament, the Cortes Generales, has been asked to accelerate a new bill that will better protect LGBT+ victims of hate crimes.

Man in Madrid has ‘f****t’ carved onto buttocks in ‘vicious’ homophobic attack 

It comes amid a time of terror and anger in Spain after a group of eight hooded assailants carved a homophobic slur into a man’s buttocks with a knife in Madrid, Spain’s capital city.

The attack took place in the Malasaña neighbourhood at around 5:15pm Sunday afternoon. The victim, who has not been named, was walking to his home when the attackers pounced on him, sliced his lip with a knife and hurled vile abuse at him.

Police were stunned by the daylight attack.

“This is the first assault of this kind we have heard of,” a spokesperson for the Policía Municipal Madrid, the city’s force, told elDiario, a Spanish-speaking news outlet.

“The investigation is focusing on CCTV footage and on finding witnesses in order to identify the alleged attackers.”

The incident took place only two months after the killing of Samuel Luiz, a 24-year-old gay man, in A Coruña. His death, at the hands of a violent, homophobic gang, shocked a country long applauded for being progressive and sparked international outrage.

Activists demanded that the government and authorities do more to tackle anti-LGBT+ violence.

Overall, hate crimes have steadily risen in Spain in recent years. Forty-one per cent of LGBT+ Spaniards have experienced harassment in the last 12 months, a study published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights last year found.

“It’s the toughest thing I’ve seen in Madrid in my six years at the observatory and my 17 years as an activist,” Rubén López, coordinator for the Madrid Observatory against LGBTphobia, told El Paīs.

“This message of hatred is awful, vicious.”