At least three people were injured in central Beirut when a march in defence of LGBT rights was attacked by a group of purported Christian extremists.
As the march passed through the Shohada and Riad al Solh squares, a group of men on motorcycles, allegedly members of the Lebanese far-right Christian group Soldiers of God, tried to impede its progress.
The men chanted slogans against "any kind and form of homosexuality in the streets of Beirut," the official Lebanese news agency ANN reported.
Shortly after the march began, the bikers attempted to paralyse it, while others from the same group went to the Ministry of Interior to request an order to cancel the march. The bikers threatened the parade and chanted slogans against the legalisation of homosexuality.
Videos of the incident were circulated on social networks, where many activists and human rights organisations criticised the violence of the extremist group.
One of the videos shows a young man with a bloodied head, while others try to prevent further aggression by the bikers.
The Progressive Socialist Party condemned the attack on its X account (formerly Twitter) and reminded the security forces that "they must arrest the attackers and bring them to justice," as "they are obliged to fulfill their duty to preserve freedom."
The Beirut-based NGO Legal Agenda said in X that security forces were forced to protect activists and journalists after the attackers threw stones at them.
According to the organisation, the constant aggression forced participants in the march to "replace it with a sit-in." The organisers also issued a statement denouncing "methods of repression and attacks on public and private freedoms" and calling for "the implementation of the provisions of the constitution" to guarantee freedoms.
This event comes almost a month after a group of extremists stormed an LGBT bar in Beirut that was hosting a drag queen show. The attackers, identified by Amnesty International as members of the group Soldiers of God, shouted anti-gay slogans and bashed some of the attendees.
Hostile rhetoric against the gay community has increased in recent weeks after the leader of the Shiite group Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, spoke out against homosexual relationships, going so far as to say that those who engage in them should be "killed".
Although Lebanon is considered one of the least conservative countries in the region, with the greatest freedom of expression, the LGBT community still faces fierce opposition, and last year the authorities banned the celebration of events organised by the collective.
Australian Associated Press
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