POLICE have confirmed the arrest of three men in connection with the killing of a young gay man whose death at the weekend is being investigated as a possible homophobic attack.
The shocking murder of Samuel Luiz, who was brutally attacked outside a nightclub in the north of Spain, has sparked nationwide protests over LGBTQ+ rights and safety.
The 24-year-old nursing assistant was partying with friends at a club in A Coruña when he was savagely beaten by a group of 13 thugs at around 3am on Saturday.
Reports say the attackers were overheard yelling ‘f*ggot’ as they brutally assaulted him.
Paramedics spent two hours trying to revive him at the scene but he later died from his injuries at A Coruña University Hospital Complex (CHUAC).
On Tuesday evening, Spain’s Policía Nacional said three people had been arrested as ‘the alleged perpetrators of the violence assault that ended Samuel Luiz’s life’.
In a statement, the force said the three were aged between 20 and 25 and lived in A Coruña. It did not rule out further arrests and said the investigation would remain open until all the facts of the case had been clarified.
Police said they were inquiring whether or not homophobia was at the root of the case and were taking into account what the attackers said as they beat Samuel but added that they have not yet ruled out that it stemmed from an argument after the men accused Samuel of using his phone to film them.
Demonstrations have taken place in cities including Madrid, Valencia and A Coruña to protest the horrific killing which took place less than a week after Spain’s annual Pride celebrations.
Protestors carried signs with slogans including ‘Your homophobia is killing us’.
A study published last year by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights found that 41% of those surveyed in Spain had experienced some form of harassment for being LGBTI in the previous 12 months.
It also found 32% of respondents in Spain often or always avoided certain places or locations for fear of being assaulted, threatened or harassed due to being LGBTI.
Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, denounced the killing and offered his condolences to Luiz’s friends and family.
“I’m confident that the police investigation will soon find those who murdered Samuel and shed light on what happened,” he tweeted on Monday. “It was a savage and merciless act. We will not take a step backwards when it comes to rights and freedoms and Spain will not tolerate this.”