Gay couple kiss in front of 800 right-wing extremists in response to homophobic chants
'We're in 2016 - it should be the most normal thing to kiss someone when you feel like kissing them'
A fearless gay couple stood up to the homophobic and racist shouts of 800 far-right protesters by kissing in front of them and giving them the finger after accidentally stumbling across a far-right protest in Madrid.
Gregor Eistert had been unaware that far-right organisation Hogar Social de Madrid, which is known for campaigning to keep refugees out of Spain, was staging a protest in the city as he walked hand in hand with David Fernández, looking for a place relax.
"It was a beautiful day, so we wanted to find a table outside," Mr Eistert told The Independent.
"When we came to Plaza del Dos de Mayo in Malasaña, we noticed a crazy amount of police. I asked one of the people who had stopped to watch what was going on. They said something about a protest."
The primary purpose of the protest was to challenge the welcoming of refugees to Spain, but after seeing the two men holding hands, protesters allegedly began to shout abuse, using homophobic slurs.
"When they marched towards us, David and I were standing in the front row holding hands," said Mr Eistert, who was born in Austria and is currently studying in Madrid on the Erasmus programme.
"First we caught some disgusted looks from some people of Hogar Social Madrid (those who were marching), and then they started insulting us. We knew it wouldn’t help much screaming back. That’s when David suddenly grabbed me and we started to kiss."
When asked if he was afraid, Mr Eistert said: "I was a bit intimidated, and we both were quite nervous when we saw the huge crowd watching us.
"But we didn't want to hide or let go of each other's hand. After all we are living in a free country.”
Above all, Mr Eistert said he felt sad that there is still so much intolerance: "We're in 2016 – it should be the most normal thing to kiss someone when you feel like kissing them."
The peaceful act of defiance was sadly interrupted when a policeman approached them and requested they leave the square.
"We kept on kissing until the police said we'd have to stop now and leave," said Mr Eistert.
"I guess the police just wanted to secure the area and avoid riots and/or fights... However, in removing us from where we were the police acted rather harshly."
Luckily, Mr Eistert has not previously been a victim of any kind of homophobic abuse and says he generally feels safe in Madrid.
"I've never had bad experiences when I was out in the street walking hand in hand with David. But I know that, very sadly, incidents against gay couples in Madrid are increasing lately."
Independent News Service