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CRIME

Protesters take to streets of Spain again over killing of gay man

A fresh wave of protests has swept across several cities in Spain over the weekend to demand justice for a young gay man who was beaten to death a week ago in a suspected homophobic attack.

Protesters take to streets of Spain again over killing of gay man
A picture of Samuel Luiz is seen during a demonstration against LGTBQ-phobia and Spanish government repression, in Barcelona on July 9, 2021. - The killing of young gay man Samuel Luiz in A Coruna on July 3, 2021, in a suspected hate crime, has sparked nationwide protests. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)

Crowds filled a central Madrid square and activists marched the streets of Almeria and the northern city of Coruña, where the crime happened, chanting slogans and waving rainbow-coloured flags.

Similar demonstrations were held in other cities over the weekend, including Barcelona and Seville.

Samuel Luiz, a 24-year-old nursing assistant, was beaten unconscious near a nightclub in Coruna in the early hours of July 3 by several assailants. He died later in hospital.

The attackers shouted homophobic slurs while beating Luiz, according to his friends’ version of events.

READ MORE:

Is Spain really a tolerant country when it comes to LGBTQ+ people?

Police have so far arrested six suspects, including two minors, over the killing but the authorities have said they are still working to determine if the attack was motivated by homophobia.

Miguel Serrano, 22, said he joined the demonstration in Madrid “because it could have been me” in Luiz’s place.

“It is clear it was a homophobic attack because of the insults that were hurled,” he added.

Protesters carried signs reading: “Some people are LGBTQ+. Get over it” and “We are all Samuel. Justice now!”.

Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez condemned the killing, calling it a “savage and merciless act” in a tweet, as have Latin pop star Ricky Martin and Spanish singer Alejandro Sánz.

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CRIME

Spain police start wearing bodycams to boost security

Spanish police have begun wearing body cameras to record their interactions with the public in a move aimed at ensuring greater security that is gaining ground in Europe and the US.

Spain police start wearing bodycams to boost security

The interior ministry said the bodycam was launched Monday and would be “rolled out on a gradual basis to all police officers”, without saying how many were involved in the initial stages.

Spain’s TVE public television said the tiny cameras were being attached to the officers’ uniforms and could be activated either manually or automatically.

The main Spanish police union JUPOL hailed the move on Twitter, saying it was in response to “a request that the union has been making”.

“It will guarantee security, both for us to avoid any kind of misrepresentation of our interventions, as well as for the public, who will be able to clearly see the police’s professionalism and that there is no abuse of power nor excesses,” union spokesman Pablo Pérez told TVE.

Forces in Europe and the United States are increasingly turning to such technology to boost transparency following a string of fatal shootings and other claims against police over the past decade.

“The cameras are being used under public safety protocols in order to record everything that happens in the event of an unwarranted offence during an operation,” Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande Marlaska told TVE ahead of the rollout.

“If they are activated, it is to guarantee security and really be transparent so that the officers’ actions can be seen and checked,” the minister said.

“This means security for both the police and the public,” he added, suggesting that in time, they would also be available to Spain’s Guardia Civil rural police force.

France began trialling bodycams, known as “pedestrian cameras”, in 2013
before a gradual rollout in 2015 in a move welcomed by police, but greeted with scepticism by rights groups who said there was no guarantee they would be always activated.

Police in London and New York also began pilot schemes in 2014 with credit-card-sized cameras clipped onto their uniforms with the technology gradually deployed over the following years.

But the cameras have had mixed success. The absence of any legal obligation governing their use can also limit their scope to uncover police misconduct.

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