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LGBTQ+ Attendees Assaulted at Greek Documentary Festival, Thessaloniki Organizers Condemn Attack

On Saturday night, a mob of up to 300 people verbally and physically harassed two LGBTQ+ attendees at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival (TiDF) in Greece. Police arrested 21 people in connection with the attacks at Aristotelous Square. In a statement, the festival stated that it “unreservedly and explicitly condemns any act of homophobic and racist violence.”

Two individuals, who are both 21, went into a local restaurant after they were verbally attacked, according to the Greek Reporter. The mob followed them there and threw bottles at the pair when they left the restaurant.

Those arrested included 11 minors and 10 adults. Twelve of the arrestees were foreign nationals.

The outlet also reported that Stelios Angeloudis, the mayor of Thessaloniki, issued his own statement: “Tolerance is a sign of civility and democracy. In the colourful, inclusive Thessaloniki of respect for diversity, there is no place for racist attitudes.”

Same-sex marriage was legalized in Greece in February. The ruling will also allow same-sex couples to adopt children together. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis praised the new law and said it will “boldly abolish a serious inequality.”

In a statement shared on Facebook, TiDF explained, “The news of the attack against two trans people, which took place on Saturday night at Aristotelous Square, filled us with anger and repugnance.”

“The Festival unreservedly and explicitly condemns any act of homophobic and racist violence, sending out a loud and clear message of tolerance, inclusivity, acceptance and visibility through the full scope of its actions: the 26th TiDF’s large-scale tribute ‘Citizen Queer’ featuring LGBTQI+ documentaries, talks and presentations from acclaimed speakers, its lineup of films, the Mermaid Award, as well as its support towards the upcoming EuroPride.”

The statement continued, “As we have repeatedly stated, the Festival discards any acts of hatred and violence and the extremist voices of intolerance and racism, serving as an open platform of art, inclusivity and dialogue.”

Thessaloniki Pride also released a joint statement with the organizations Rainbow Families, Colorful School, Athens Pride and others. The statement said in part, “Incidents of violence have increased especially in recent months clearly due to the hate speech and abusive language that has been and continues to be expressed in the public debate within the Greek parliament, in churches, in the media and on social media which unfortunately remain without a resounding response on the part of institutions and the state, thus feeding the snake of fascism that threatens not only LGBTI+ individuals but the whole of society.”

The organizations called for a rally at Aristotelous Square on Sunday at 7 p.m. local time. Locals have shared photos and videos from the event on X (formerly Twitter), and Variety described the rally as having attendees that numbered in the thousands.

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