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Security Brief: EUCOM Week of July 5, 2021

Week of Monday, July 5, 2021 | Issue 39

Flavien Baumgartner, Pètra van de Gevel, Phoebe Higginbotham, EUCOM Team


Pride Month in Madrid[1]

Date: July 5, 2021

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Parties involved: Spanish government; LGBTQ+ community

The event: People in Spain took to the streets after Samuel Luiz Muñiz, a homosexual man, was beaten to death in A Coruña, Galicia, Spain. The killing sparked demonstrations in numerous cities across Spain to protest against the hate crimes and violence against the LGBTQ+ community as it is suspected the crime was motivated by homophobia.

The implications:

  • The killing of Samuel Luiz Muñiz will highly likely be politicized as Vox, a socially conservative far-right party, has already received blame from other political parties for playing a role in the crime. The killing will very likely be politicized by turning it into a national symbol of homophobia in Spain. This will, consequently, result in further divisions in Spain’s political landscape, as political parties on the left of the political spectrum will very likely accuse political parties on the right of the political spectrum for not condemning homophobic violence enough. The divisions in Spain’s political landscape will likely result in a societal confrontation between LGBTQ+ supporters and anti-LGBTQ+ protesters during LGBTQ+ demonstrations as tensions between the two groups have risen across the European continent during Pride Month.[2] The political divisions in Spain may, therefore, have a spill-over effect on society as the political polarization may fuel a pro- or anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment, consequently resulting in a confrontation that may turn violent between groups that hold different viewpoints.

  • Left-wing members of Spain’s governing coalition are stating the crime was motivated by homophobia, while the President of Galicia, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, condemned the crime but decided to wait to make remarks about the motivation of the crime until police could link it to homophobia. The decision to not make remarks about the motivation of the crime could possibly result in a lack of preventative measures to tackle homophobic violence in Spain, possibly resulting in a permissive environment for crimes against the LGBTQ+ community.[3] President Feijóo’s delay in addressing the matter will be criticized by politicians and protesters, resulting in increased tensions between the LGBTQ+ community and anti-pride or anti-LGTBQ+ protesters in Spain. Protests against the reportedly homophobic hate crime will most likely result in violent incidents, with a possibility of increased casualties.


Date: July 5, 2021

Location: Tbilisi, Georgia

Parties involved: Georgian government; the Georgian Dream; LGBTQ+ community

The event: On Monday, July 5, 2021, the first Pride march that would have taken place in Tbilisi, Georgia, was called off as a result of a far-right attack on the Georgia Pride office and journalists.[4] Although the number of LGBTQ+ hate crimes during Pride Month increased in Europe, the march in Georgia continued as planned, until anti-pride groups in Georgia threatened the event by attacking the organizers’ buildings and damaging their offices.

The implications:

  • A violent confrontation may likely occur again between pro-LGBT+ activists and anti-pride protesters. Pro-LGBTQ+ activists will most likely keep trying to organize the first Pride march in Georgia while anti-pride protesters will very likely take to the streets as well.

  • Prime Minister of Georgia and representative of the political party the Georgian Dream, Irakli Garibashvili, described LGBTQ+-related events as unacceptable, saying a Pride march may result in a civil confrontation. Garibashvili accused opposition parties of provoking civil unrest by supporting the march. The Georgian Dream has openly expressed its anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments and has not condemned LGBTQ+ violence for religious reasons. This can consequently result in an environment where violence and hate against the LGBTQ+ community are accepted.[5] Due to this, it is highly likely that the number of hate and violent crimes against the LGBTQ+ community will rise and violent confrontations between LGBTQ+ protesters and anti-LGBTQ+ protesters will become more likely.

  • During recent Pride events, violent attacks against the LGBTQ+ community in the European Union occurred, such as the killing of Samuel Luiz Muñiz and the attacks on the Pride march in Georgia. It is therefore likely that upcoming Pride-related events, such as marches and demonstrations, will turn violent, especially in countries where LGBTQ+ violence is not condemned by those in power.


Date: July 7, 2021

Location: United Kingdom (UK)

Parties involved: UK Government; Independent Reviewer of Terrorism

The event: Police revealed that one in ten of all terror suspects arrested in the UK are children and that a “staggeringly high number” of autistic people, including children, are being drawn to terrorism.[6] An estimated three quarters of children arrested are linked to right-wing extremism.[7] In a speech marking the sixteenth anniversary of the 7/7 London bombings, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation claimed that it was “necessary to speak about autism.”[8]

The implications:

  • The discovery that the majority of child terror suspects support right-wing extremism, and that many are on the autistic spectrum, greatly enhances law enforcement’s understanding of the pull factors behind right-wing terrorism, improving their ability to create effective counterterror measures. It is apparent the UK needs to devote greater resources toward assisting those with cognitive difficulties; without doing so, it is highly likely the threat of right-wing extremism will increase within the country. Failure to do so will also likely result in increased recruitment to extreme right-wing groups posing a threat to both domestic and international security. If the UK government fails to increase resource deviation to services that safeguard vulnerable individuals, it is likely that they will fail to prevent the development of future threats.

  • If staff in UK schools receive greater training on how to manage and identify children with Special Educational Needs (SENCO), it is likely that boys and girls on the autistic spectrum will be identified earlier. Early identification will enable individuals to receive targeted care, helping them to develop feeling supported by their community, rather than being isolated, reducing the likelihood of their radicalization. Without this, far-right organizations will likely seek to exploit their vulnerabilities to recruit them.


Date: July 7, 2021

Location: Russia

Parties involved: Russia; Estonia; European Union

The event: On Wednesday, July 7, Russia expelled Estonian diplomat Mart Latte after accusing him of spying. Russia’s expulsion of the Estonian diplomat follows other diplomatic expulsions with Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, and the Czech Republic, all on the grounds of spying. Russia’s relations with many members of the European Union have been strained following numerous spying accusations against Russian diplomats regarding their attempts to gain access to sensitive military intelligence.[9]

The implications:

  • This event marks increasing distrust and worsening relations between Russia and the European Union. The conflict with the UK over the British warship in Crimean waters is further evidence of this. Russian disputes with numerous European Union members likely indicate a rise in anti-European sentiment from the Russian government. As mistrust on all sides builds, the risk that future events will spark tensions.

  • Additionally, it is highly likely that a deepening in the divide between Russia and Europe will result in a strengthening of Russian bonds with allies such as China. Global competition risks a return of a divide between eastern and western powers. Given the military nature of the spying accusations, a spark with a Western European state risks drawing additional global powers, such as the United States, due to treaties like NATO in an escalation that is unlikely to defuse tensions.

  • It is highly likely there will be a large-scale diplomatic fallout between the parties involved if Russia is unable to come together with members of the European Union in a diplomatic discussion with the aim of identifying the cause of increased anti-European sentiment

[1]Pride Month in Madrid” by Mary Saxaroz licensed under Unsplash

[2] Flash Alert: Increased Risk of Violence Against The LGBTQ+ Community, The Counterterrorism Group, July 2021, https://www.counterterrorismgroup.com/post/flash-alert-increased-risk-of-violence-against-the-lgbtq-community

[3] Ibid

[4] Tbilisi Pride march cancelled after far-right attack on headquarters, The Guardian, July 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/05/georgia-lgbtq-activists-cancel-tbilisi-pride-march-after-violence

[5] Flash Alert: Increased Risk of Violence Against The LGBTQ+ Community, The Counterterrorism Group, July 2021, https://www.counterterrorismgroup.com/post/flash-alert-increased-risk-of-violence-against-the-lgbtq-community

[6] “Children amond “staggeringly high” number of autisitc people being drawn to terrorism, watchdog warns”, The Independent, July 2021, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/autism-terrorism-children-cases-radicalisation-b1879719.html

[7] “Three-quarters of children arrested on suspicion of terror offences are far-right extremists”, The Independent, July 2021, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/child-terrorists-uk-far-right-b1878535.html

[8] “Children amond “staggeringly high” number of autisitc people being drawn to terrorism, watchdog warns”, The Independent, July 2021, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/autism-terrorism-children-cases-radicalisation-b1879719.html

[9] “Bulgaria to expel another Russian spy suspected of spying”, Aljizeera, December 2020, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/18/bulgaria-to-expel-another-russian-diplomat-suspected-of-spying

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