Organisers say 50,000 people turned out in Rome on Saturday to protest at what gay rights groups say is an increase in attacks on homosexuals this year.
It is the biggest demonstration of its kind Italy has ever seen. Since the beginning of the year gay activists claim there have been eight gay-hate killings and 52 other attacks. The government has promised a media campaign against homophobia. “We also once again told Minister Carfagna how important a national media campaign would be to raise awareness on these issues. We need this country to move ahead on all that concerns homophobia and respect for civil rights in general,” said an organiser. According to gay rights groups this is the first time the government has taken a serious vow to fight intolerance. “I am here to send this message. When love is real and sincere it chooses; it chooses the person that causes this love to explode. It does not choose a gender it chooses a person,” said a prominent actress and supporter. A bill against homophobia is currently being drafted but activists say they have been in talks with the government for over a year without seeing any results or even meeting the Equal Opportunities minister, Mara Cafagna.