Three arrested for homophobic attack

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Three men aged 26, 23 and 22 were arrested in connection with a homophobic attack during a discussion on sexual orientation organised by the Technological University student union guesting ACCEPT-LGBTI Cyprus.

According to media reports, the three men are to be questioned by police officers before being charged.

One of the men was tracked down by police officers, while the other two turned themselves in on Friday.

Earlier in the day, a spokesperson for the Limassol Police Department, Marinos Vassiliou, said that officers were going through CCTV footage from the university and nearby facilities to determine their route.

Vassiliou said that from footage taken, police identified several young men aged between 22 and 26, believed to be current students or former students of the Limassol-based university.

He said that investigating officers believe that up to 12 people were involved in the attack.

The attack happened Wednesday night at an event held at the  Technological University (TEPAK) amphitheatre, interrupted by a group of 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 balaclavas 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.

Politicians condemned the incident, including new president Nikos Christodoulides.

TEPAK rector Professor Panagiotis Zafiris had 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.”

He had said that he did not believe that any university students were involved in the attack, but if proven otherwise, there would be no leniency.

The three men were expected to appear before a court to be remanded in police custody.