While Medellin was preparing its annual Gay Pride parade, a far-right political activist took down and destroyed the rainbow flag that was waving over the city.
According to the infamous supporter of controversial former President Alvaro Uribe, taking down the flag of the Antioquia province to replace it with the flag that has become the symbol for equal rights for the global LGBT community was an act of disrespect.
If the mayor of Medellin, the assembly and the council do not respect our patriotic symbols, the people of Antioquia will make them respect our city and our patriotic symbols. If that community wants us to respect them, they should respect us first.
Luis Emilio Arboleda
The video of Luis Emilio Arboleda rambling about regional pride embarrassed more progressive inhabitants of Medellin, the staunchly religious capital of the staunchly conservative and violent Antioquia province.
Vergüenza la que siento, por estos “machos” rompiendo a navaja hoy bandera símbolo del movimiento LGTBI que estaba en el Cerro Nutibara con apoyo de @AlcaldiadeMed. @FicoGutierrez esto es un acto criminal y retador. Ya los capturaron? Basta de violencias @bbcmundo @RSilvaRomero. pic.twitter.com/9ebJZUnYGk
— JesusAbadColorado (@AbadColorado) June 29, 2019
While policemen at the Cerro Nutibara were filmed chuckling over the far-right “Uribista” taking down and destroying the flag, Mayor Federico Gutierrez, whose office had raised the flag, ordered the man to be apprehended to undergo an obligatory social integration course.
“I am deeply indignant and saddened by this act of violence, hatred and discrimination,” Gutierrez said on Twitter, adding that “this is incitement of violence, of the hatred that does so much damage to our society.
The prosecution said it was investigating if the man should be prosecuted on more serious charges.
Let Colombia’s homophobes not forget that we have the anti-discrimination law: any person who promotes acts aimed at causing physical or moral harm to a person or group of persons because of their race, ethnicity, sex or sexual orientation shall pay a penalty between one to three years.
Journalist Mabel Lara
Following the incident, gay rights activists went to the hill and stoically raised a new banner that has become the global symbol for equal rights for LGTB communities.
“Here’s our answer to hatred and homophobia,” one of the activists wrote on Twitter where the hashtag #ElAmorNoSeCorta (Love can’t be cut) became viral after the incident.
— Gerson Aguilar Rojas (@justgerson) June 29, 2019
Arboleda, a convicted conman, on multiple occasions made headlines for aggressively harassing politicians who support Colombia’s ongoing peace process.
Despite the controversies about Arboleda’s multiple acts of aggression, Uribe personally thanked the extremist for his active support for the former president’s far-right Democratic Center party to “repeal” the country’s war crimes tribunal.