A homophobic attack on an event organised by ACCEPT-LGBTI Cyprus and the student union of the Technological university has caused an uproar among the academic community and politicians.
The event, held at an amphitheatre at Limassol’s Technological University (TEPAK), was interrupted by a group of ten hooded people who barged into the room shouting homophobic slogans.
ACCEPT posted a video of the incident, which showed the intruders dressed in black and wearing masks entering the lecture hall.
One of them set off a fire extinguisher while others are heard shouting.
As ACCEPT reported, a person was hit, and items were thrown at participants.
The intruders left the hall shortly after the incident but destroyed university property on their way out.
Police investigating the incident have confirmed that one person was slightly injured and treated at Limassol general.
“Society’s silent acceptance and indifference to homophobic hate speech from both public and ordinary individuals have emboldened fools who now feel they can act without consequences,” ACCEPT posted on social media.
They argued that rhetoric against the LGBTQI+ community worsened during the presidential election period, especially on social media, despite laws protecting their rights.
House Speaker Annita Demetriou taking to Twitter, condemned the incident.
“I strongly condemn the incident of violence and intimidation at TEPAK.
“Such attitudes are dangerous for our Republic.
“I call on the Cyprus Police to immediately identify and bring the perpetrators to justice,” Tweeted Demetriou.
DISY Limassol MP Fotini Tsiridou also condemned the incident: “Homophobic attacks in the city are not unusual, as this was the second such incident in the past couple of months”.
Tsiridou called on all political powers to condemn the incident and work towards eliminating the ground for such actions.
“Preventing similar action in the future is our duty”.
TEPAK rector Professor Panagiotis Zafiris said the university considered the incident an “act of terrorism”.
“This constitutes a terrorist act at the expense of the free movement of ideas and opinions within a university, which should be the essence and the core of a university.
“We will not be taking it lightly, and already members of the student body community proceeded with statements to the police”.
He believes no university students were involved in the attack, but he would take strict action against them if proven otherwise.