Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Facebook
An angry crowd are seen passionately defending two gay men arrested for kissing on a beach in Tulum, Mexico, in a viral video.
Footage of the incident shows the handcuffed men being led onto a vehicle as officers with machine guns and beach-goers swarm around them.
A third man is seen sat in the vehicle, as his friend says: "We are gay and we were kissing and that's why they are taking us."
In the video posted to the Noti Tulum Facebook page on 23 February 2021, the crowd are heard chanting “I’m gay!" and “I’m gay too” in support of the men.
One supporter also yells “they were not committing a crime” and “[they're] kissing like any other couple.”
According to LGBTQ Nation, officers eventually let the men go.
The publication adds that local police issued a statement saying the men were being arrested for “immoral acts and sexual erotic demonstrations on the road or public places."
"‘There are families and children and they cannot be seeing this'"
One witness alleged on Facebook that the police were violent, explaining: “While I was on the beach with my family, we noticed around 4.30 that two police officers in their ATVs approached a group of young foreigners.
“After about 20 minutes passed, we noticed that a patrol arrived and proceeded to arrest them with handcuffs.
“Observing what happened, I approached them and to my surprise, and that of many who had approached, the ‘reason’ for their arrest was because they were gays and they had kissed.
“The policemen were violent, and gave arguments such as: ‘There are families and children and they cannot be seeing this.’
“They were forced into the patrol and they would not let them go, all of us who were gathered were upset at seeing the situation, no matter how much we told them that they were not committing any crime, they did not release them.”
Explaining the men were released after "a few minutes" of protest, the person added [as per Pink News]: "They were not committing any crime, we were by their side, at no time did they do anything wrong, simply by kissing like any other couple, they wanted to take them.
“I am furious because it is not possible that in the 21st century this type of oppression against the LGBT + community continues. We all deserve the same treatment, and appropriate sanctions must be applied to these officers.”
According to the Daily Mail, the footage was recorded by local women's right's activist Maritza Escalante.
The outlet adds that Quintana Roo Tulum Police issued a statement saying the officers were 'responding to a call of several individuals engaging in vulgar sexual acts in front of other families.'
In response to the arrest, Quintana Roo Tulum Police reportedly said: "We are an inclusive and impartial police both for residents and tourists who visit the state of Quintana Roo. So no abuse of authority will be tolerated."
Gay sex has been legal in Mexico since 1871, but anti-gay attitudes persist in the mostly Roman Catholic country.