Fight Against Hate Crimes Rally Downtown Today
POSTED: Friday, May 27, 2011 - 1:25pm
UPDATED: Friday, May 27, 2011 - 6:56pm
EL PASO- If you were at the county courthouse this afternoon you couldn't miss it. About 50 people holding signs and flags, taking part in a rally right outside.
They were there taking a stand against hate crimes. Mainly hate crimes targeting gays and lesbians.
“Because there's been more lately than we've been seeing in the past,” says rally attendee, Matt Sutton.
“We need to stop this before it gets out of hand and people die from it,” says Darlina Ramirez.
Most people we spoke with brought up Lionel Martinez, the 22-year-old now in a coma after a group of men beat him up outside a downtown gay bar. His family says he's not gay but his attackers thought he was and shouted gay slurs as they beat him.
Despite this, police say the attack was gang related and was not a hate crime. Hard for many in the gay community to believe.
“They want to go and say there's not enough proof there's not enough proof. We didn't see it happen. Well what is it going to take? Someone in a coma or someone getting killed before they do something about it?”says Sutton.
So what do they want done? A number of ralliers took to the mega phone demanding more police presence at gay bars downtown.
“When it comes to downtown you don't see them as much,” says rallier Raul Guzman.
But more than anything, they're just looking for acceptance and respect from the El Paso community.
“We're not here to hurt anybody. We're human beings, taxpayers, just like everyone else and we need to be treated with respect more than anything else,” says Guzman.
The “Fight Against Hate Crimes” was held from 11am-2pm in front of the El Paso County Courthouse.