The LGBTI community in Greece — and beyond — are demanding justice for the death of gay activist Zak Kostopoulos.
Video evidence allegedly shows a group of men attacking and kicking Kostopoulos on Saturday (22 September). According to a report by PinkNews, authorities are still investigating the circumstances of the attack, which resulted in Kostopoulos’ death at the age of 33.
In the video, Kostopoulos is seen trying to exit a jewelry shop. He’s holding a fire extinguisher and trying to break through the front door. When that didn’t work, the video shows him crawling on hands and knees through a broken shop window.
As he crawled through, that’s when the shop owner and another man appear to approach and start kicking Kostopoulos.
Local new reports alleged police were nearby but did not intervene until later. Kostopoulos died before reaching the hospital.
CNN Greece reported the coroner’s report gave no cause of death. According to the report, Kostopoulos’ body had several minor injuries insufficient to cause death.
A divided community
PinkNews further reports Kostopoulos’ has caused divisions in the community. Some allegedly believe his death was not justified, while others say the shop owner had a right to defend his property.
Local news reports stated Kostopoulos was a ‘drug addict’ intending to rob the shop. They also said he was armed with a knife. Several people, however, disagree with these assessments.
Twitter user @th1an1 tweeted the video and stated Kostopoulos was unarmed and did not enter the shop to steal. They further said he entered the shop to get away from a nearby brawl and got trapped when the security door closed.
Finally, they also posted photos of people protesting Kostopoulos’ death.
Zak entered the store to protect himself from a brawl in a nearby shop where he was with friends and trapped inside after the security door closed automatically.
100s comrades spontaneously protested in downtown #Athens, last night, to denounce the murder of Zak Kostopoulos. pic.twitter.com/cREuc12T1S
— th1an1 (@th1an1) September 23, 2018
Another activist, Gregory Vallianatos, wrote the same thing on Facebook.
Before his death, Kostopoulos performed as drag queen Zackie Oh and spoke out about being HIV-positive.
Authorities arrested the shop owner and are still trying to identify the other man.
The shop owner is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow (25 September).