Saturday, October 25, 2014

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Downtown demonstrators bring awareness to local hate crimes

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TWC News: Downtown demonstrators bring awareness to local hate crimes
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A rally and march was held in Downtown Austin Saturday afternoon as a way to fight back against hate crimes in the city.

Members of the LGBT group Get Equal Texas and supporters marched from City Hall to the State Capitol Saturday in an effort to raise awareness about local hate crimes against not only the gay community, but other groups as well.

Get Equal members and gay rights supporters say they hope to educate the public and make sure those who commit hate crimes are held accountable.

One recent attack provided motivation for Saturday’s rally. During Austin’s PRIDE festival two weeks ago, two gay men were attacked while waiting for pizza at a food trailer on Fourth Street.

"This whole march is something that's really keeping me afloat emotionally,” attack victim Andrew Oppleman said. “I have something to focus on. I have something that will be a positive, bring out some positive, out of a negative action so to speak."

Oppelman’s attacker has been described as an Asian male, about six-feet-tall. Police say he’s in his late 20s or early 30s with a muscular build.

It's up to prosecutors to decide whether the attack is a hate crime. As of now, the suspect faces aggravated assault charges.

If you have any information about the attack, call Austin police at (512) 974-5584.

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