Monday, March 29, 2010

Peru: LGBT advocates wash blood off Peruvian flag to protest inactivity on hate crimes

The Tumbes regional online edition of Peruvian newspaper Correo reported that a number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocates gathered at Tumbes' main plaza on Saturday to demonstrate against hate crimes.

Although crowd estimates were not given, the protest is said to have drawn many onlookers.

Demonstrators carried banners and rainbow flags as well as one unusual prop: A Peruvian flag that they claimed had been stained by all the participants' blood.

Before the cameras, protest leaders held the flag and dropped it into a plastic bowl filled with soapy water and cleaned the 'blood' from the national symbol.

"We want the State not to be indifferent to the needs of our community - We are making a statement which is a demand - not only in Tumbes but on a national level - for our rights to be recognized," said Melissa Zapata Sánchez, a transgender woman.

She said that many of the legal processes involving hate crimes had yet to end in punishment and demanded follow-up measures that would hold criminals accountable for the crimes they had committed.

In addition, LGBT advocates also questioned the role of the Catholic church on State issues and asked for the right to walk freely through the streets of Peru as well as the right to work in the public and private sector.


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