A group of hooded men stormed an LGBTQ event at the Cyprus University of Technology on Wednesday, yelling anti-gay slurs, assaulting participants, and discharging a fire extinguisher towards them, with police saying they were investigating a hate crime.
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According to Accept - LGBTI Cyprus, which posed a video of the incident on social media, a group of hooded men stormed a Rainbow Meeting on Wednesday at TEPAK, where people met to discuss issues concerning sexual orientation.
ACCEPT said the perpetrators used hate speech and homophobic slurs as they yelled at the participants, discharged a fire extinguisher at them, and also attacked some speakers and students.
“The attack spread panic among participants, both due to its menace but also because of the number of hooded men,” ACCEPT said.
Police said the incident took place Wednesday evening around 8:30pm, when about ten hooded individuals marched into the room and disrupted a student organization meeting about sexual orientation.
'These bullying acts of hatred simply prove that homophobia reigns in our island and that we must do more with more courage and tenacity' ACCEPT said
One person was said to have been injured during the incident and was rushed to the Emergency Room at Limassol General Hospital. The 21-year-old, who was punched in the face, received medical treatment was then released.
The political office of President-elect Nikos Christodoulides issued a statement after the incident, condemning the attack and calling acts of violence unacceptable.
“Respect for human rights and diversity, as well as the dignity of all citizens without exceptions, are not negotiable in a democratic state,” the statement said.
ACCEPT members say they have more videos in their possession and have suggested that witnesses during the incident may be able to help identify suspects.
“These bullying acts of hatred simply prove that homophobia reigns in our island and that we must do more with more courage and tenacity,” ACCEPT said.
Police said they were investigating public disturbance, aggravated assault, as well as offenses hate crimes based on a law combating racism and xenophobia.
The organization also said LGBTQ members and allies would like to send a clear message.
“We won’t be intimated and we won’t stay silent,” ACCEPT said.