Tensions have been rising in Peru between an increasingly bold LGBTI movement and conservative groups in recent months, with the latest clashes happening on March 4th in the capital of Lima.
The homophobic “Con Mis Hijos No Te Metas” march was primarily called by a number of reactionary Christian groups, including CONAPFAM, Water of Life, the World Missionary Movement, Christian and Missionary Alliance and Assemblies of God. Several are linked to the US but have committed significant resources to pushing hardline positions across South America.
In opposition, anarchists, LGTBI activists and independent progressives gathered in different parts of Lima to express their rejection of bigotry, in the face of violent reactions from both rightist demonstrators and police. Radio Bomba reported:
With messages against hatred and the discrimination being promoted, collectives and individuals confronted the gathering at different points of the march from beginning to end, receiving insults and blows by marchers and by threats and shoves from the police.
The march ended in Plaza San Martin. a rally was then performed to continue the reactionaries’ campaign of misinformation to the people. The participating churches and political figures behind the campaign pretend to be concerned parents, but several are politicians and leaders of major Christian churches in the country.
They seek to gain attention and increase their political power and reach, eventually, to win the presidential election. In addition to increasing their income.
Conservatives have been trying to hit back against a heightened profile for LGBTI rights in the country following a failed vote to allow same-sex civil unions in 2015 and annual Pride marches which have grown from 37 people in 2002, all wearing masks to avoid identification, to drawing thousands of people last year.
As in many countries, the younger generation is far more accepting of LGBTI rights, but the national situation remains dangerous with an estimated one person killed every week by homophobic attacks and in 2013 Congress rejected the idea of legislating to regard homophobic violence as a hate crime. Such attacks are likely the tip of the iceberg as 90% are simply not reported — police themselves have tended to repress gay rights actions, such as this Valentine’s Day kiss-in last year: