Police in Lima, Peru, used water cannons and batons to disperse a pro-LGBTQ kissing protest on Feb. 13 (video below).
“We were assaulted by the police on Feb. 13 and like every year,” Chola Contravisual, one of the organizers of the protest, told the Washington Blade. “Approximately 25 LGBTQ people were gathered in Lima’s Plaza de Armas and only some couples expressed their love with kisses and hugs.”
Contravisual said police sprayed the demonstrators with water and kerosene and added that one protester suffered a bruised arm.
“The aggression was excessive towards the young people who gather each year in the main square to kiss against homophobia,” George Liendo of Promsex, a pro-LGBT group, said.
“[The police] are obligated to protect the LGBT community, as it is a population that is particularly susceptible to violence,” Liendo added.
The protesters were caught on video shouting, "No to homophobia!" as the police got physical with them.
LGBTQ people in Peru reportedly do not have the same civil rights protections as those in Chile and other countries nearby.
According to Gay Star News, a civil unions bill failed in April 2015 due to opposition from conservative lawmakers and the Catholic Church, but Peru did support a U.N. resolution against violence and discrimination directed towards LGBTQ people.