Fears of retaliation for cancellation of Mexico gay festival

Some LGBT+ people have been able to shield themselves from attack but gay rights activist fears more attacks may come in future, official says Gay and lesbian people are being forced to hide from…

Fears of retaliation for cancellation of Mexico gay festival

Some LGBT+ people have been able to shield themselves from attack but gay rights activist fears more attacks may come in future, official says

Gay and lesbian people are being forced to hide from violent crime after men on camels stormed a beach where they were attending a celebration at a gay resort in Mexico, according to reports.

At least nine people were injured, three of them seriously, after a man on a camels rode into the crowd, local media have reported. A local official said the marauding bikers fired shots.

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The violence followed an incident on Thursday at a night-time vigil held by the LGBT+ community in Punta Morelos, a popular vacation spot on the southern coast of Mexico. Ten men died at a resort area in Tamaulipas state in January after gunmen shot at a parade where supporters of self-styled “New Generation” leftists had gathered, leaving a trail of blood and broken glass in their wake.

Jaime de Castro of the Cancun tourism office said two attacks on LGBT+ people had occurred at various locations in the city and one at a private residence.

He said the Cancun tourism board “closely collaborates with the authorities so that the situation is controlled”. He said the violence may be related to insecurity in border areas and the rise of drug cartels. “These people are obviously angry that the festival has been cancelled,” Castro said.

But Miguel Castro, the public security secretary for Quintana Roo state, which includes Cancun, said the attack was not related to the cancelled LGBT+ festival.

Castro said that when a private security guard reported the incident to the police, the men would not identify themselves and put their weapons down.

A man wearing a black balaclava and rifle, runs through the beach at Cancun Photograph: Humberto Prado/AP

“They didn’t try to steal things but offered to pay to be locked up so that they could go back to their home,” Castro said. “I think it was an act of intimidation.”

Ian Meyer, a director of the Center for American Progress in Mexico City, who has been an activist for gay rights in the city for more than a decade, said a few gay men had been able to hide themselves at the beach. “But at the end of the day … if you are not prepared to play out that kind of game … this is what is going to happen,” he said.

Cancun Pride was cancelled after authorities last week put out a shooting alert after a gay man was wounded in a carjacking in the city. In October, two gay men were shot dead after police fired gunshots into the air when they asked them for their identification.

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