Hamrun demonstration calls for broader hate crime law

A demonstration calling for hate crime legislation to include crime motivated by gender or sexual orientation, was held in Hamrun this evening in the wake of a recent assault on two lesbian girls.

The peaceful event, which drew some 50 people, was organised by the Malta Gay Rights Movement in association with a number of other groups including Drachma, Aditus, Integra, Moviment Graffitti, AD Youths and the We Are Students' Group.

Several of those who took part carried placards or candles.

Gaby Calleja, who heads the MGRM, said those taking part were calling on the Justice Minister to extend hate crime legislation to include other potentially vulnerable groups.  She insisted that the legislation against hate crime should include crime motivated by gender or sexual orientation.

The recent incident - by no means the first - underlined the reality faced by a section of the population, she said.

The police said earlier this week that two teenage brothers who allegedly attacked the lesbian girls will soon appear in court to face charges of assault.

Charges were formally issued against the boys, who have been summoned to turn up in court to face the charges in an upcoming Ħamrun district sitting.

In an interview published in The Sunday Times, a 16-year-old lesbian – who went by the pseudonym of Amy – recounted how she was sitting on a bench with her girlfriend in a Ħamrun square when the two young men attacked them.

The incident took place on January 13 and allegedly started when the boys started hurling insults at the girls from a nearby balcony. They called them “lesbians” and “twisted” and went down into the square.

The 16-year-old girl ended up at a health centre with a fractured nose, a grazed face and bruises on her breasts. Her girlfriend got away with a bruise to the head and scratches on her wrists which she sustained when pushed to the ground.

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