A group of beachgoers in Mexico proved that when people join together and stand up for justice, you can triumph in even the direst of circumstances.
Municipal police in Tulum, Quintana Roo got received a tip that there were men allegedly committing "immoral acts" on the beach. So the officers, armed with AR-15 rifles, picked up two Canadian men.
"The officers approached a group of young foreigners," local politician Maritza Escalante Morales recounted in her video. "After about 20 minutes passed, a patrol car arrived and proceeded to arrest them with handcuffs."
When Escalante asked the officers why the two men were being arrested, she learned it was "because they were gay and they kissed." However, two men are allowed to legally kiss in Mexico. The officers claimed they were being arrested because they did so in front of children.
"The policemen were violent, and gave arguments such as 'there are families and children and they cannot be watching this,'" Morales later said.
When the police loaded the two men into the back of their truck, a crowd began to mobilize around the vehicle. They booed and jeered the police. The crowd rallied around the men chanting "No!" and "I'm gay, too!"
Morales captured the incident on video.
"We are gay, that is why they are taking us," one of the arrested tourists says in the video.
"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," Morales later wrote. "I am FURIOUS because it is not possible that in the 21st century this type of oppression against the LGBT+ community continues."
However, the protests worked. Even though the police were heavily armed they capitulated to the angry crowd and let the two men go. It was a beautiful display of the power a crowd can have when they stand up for what's right. Especially when the two men weren't doing anything wrong or illegal.
Homosexuality is legal in Mexico and same-sex marriage has been allowed for over a decade. But that doesn't prevent some authorities from overstepping their boundaries and threatening LGBT people.
According to World Nomads tourism site, in Mexico "The culture is stronger than the printed law, and each Mexican state can override national decriminalization laws by finding 'adjacent' excuses — like public decency laws — for making an arrest in rare situations."
The site urges LGBT people to be cautious about expressing public affection in the country.
"Basic displays of same-sex affection, like kissing and handholding in public (except for in or around a gay bar in, say, Mexico City), are invitations for scrutiny and potential backlash, which wouldn't be much different from a small, conservative, rural town anywhere in the world," the site continues.
The incident has resulted in several human rights groups filing complaints with Mexico's government. It has also inspired a "kiss-in" at the beach to protest the actions of the police.
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