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BY ERNESTO VALLE
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — An employee of the El Salvador Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday attacked a prominent LGBTI activist and her mother in the country’s capital of San Salvador.
Espacio de Mujeres Lesbianas por la Diversidad (ESMULES) Executive Director Andrea Ayala arrived at the ministry’s offices at a San Salvador mall 3:25 p.m. to fill out some paperwork. The guard did not allow her and her mother to enter, saying it was 3:30 p.m., the time at which the office closes for the day.
“I told him that wasn’t the case because it was not yet closing time and the man exploded,” Ayala told the Washington Blade.
“You are nobody here and you cannot come in and tell me what to do because this is an office of the Ministry of Foreign Relations,” she added, recounting what the government employee told her.
The ministry employee punched the human rights defender in the mouth. Ayala’s mother intervened when she saw this happen, but his only response was to attack her when she asked him not to hit her daughter.
They both tried to restrain the aggressor and insisted that he calm down to which his only response was “you are nobody here.”
Ayala told him that she was going to file a complaint, but the aggressor didn’t seem to care. She was able to take out her cell phone in between the blows and pushing and shoving and record the situation in order to share it with her friends and family on social media networks.
The ministry responded to the incident on its Twitter with the following, “[the ministry] is taking seriously the incident that took place in our office at Las Cascadas Mall this afternoon. This ministry reiterates its rejection of any kind of violence and is cooperating with corresponding institutions for resolution of the case.”
This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National LGBT Media Association.