Approximately 30 men were involved in attacking a gay pride parade in the German city of Karlsurhe, according to police. The men, who are described as a “group of young people of southern origin,” beat a number of participants and set a gay pride flag on fire.
The Karlsruhe criminal police have begun an investigation into the incident. The “southern origin” description as indicated in the police report usually refers to North Africans or Middle Easterners, but the men have not yet been identified.
The situation escalated late on Saturday evening when the men stole a rainbow LGBT flag from the parade and set it on fire. A group surrounded, insulted, and beat the man who had been carrying the flag, the German news outlet Queer.de reported. Those who came to the victim’s aid were assaulted as well, with the original victim ending up in the hospital.
A Twitter thread from an eyewitness describes how the victims suffered from a number of serious injuries, including concussions and broken bones.
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Participants in the procession made allegations against the local police officers as well.
“The police officers reacted extremely inappropriately to the situation,” a witness said. “Despite a police presence of at least 10 vans, only nine police officers got out and took care of those affected,” he added.
The “queer political spokesman” of the SPD parliamentary group in the Baden-Württemberg state parliament, Florian Wahl, expressed shock via a statement. The accusations made against the police will be investigated, according to Wahl.
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“Regardless of whether this was the case, we need to train our police officers to deal with hate crime in general and anti-queer attacks in particular,” the politician said.
As the CSD Karlsruhe association reports, separate attacks against parade goers also allegedly took place in other places in the city over the weekend.
“We are in contact with those affected and politicians,” the association stated. “Our city mayor, Frank Mentrup, is personally taking care of the matter and will work with us to clarify the crime and the behavior of the police.”
Middle Eastern and North African countries are known for their extreme anti-LGBT laws and incredible repression of the LGBT community. Cultural differences between Muslims and other non-European foreign national groups sometimes leads to social tension and outright violence in multicultural European nations that take a more liberal approach to sexuality.