More than 1,000 people took to the streets of Rome on Friday to protest against an increasing number of homophobic attacks throughout predominantly Roman Catholic Italy.
Most demonstrators brandished the rainbow flag, the emblem of the gay and lesbian community, as they marched from the the landmark Colosseum to Rome's city hall on the Capitoline Hill.
"We are pleased that so many people turned out tonight and if this is not enough to change things, we'll organise more demonstrations," said Fabrizio Marrazzo, Rome leader of Italy's main Arcigay rights movement.
Late Tuesday one person was injured when two huge firecrackers exploded outside a gay bar opposite the Colosseum, also causing some damage. The next day a first protest rally drew 1,000 people including several politicians.
Right-wing Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno has condemned anti-gay attacks, saying: "Unfortunately in a city of 2.8 million people, there are minorities and groups of scoundrels that must be identified and isolated".
Arcigay, in a statement released on Monday, condemned the number of anti-gay and lesbian attacks in Italy citing the cases of a couple that was beaten up by some 30 assailants five days earlier in central Naples and of a shop owner in the southern Apulia region who insulted and threatened gay clients.