Municipal police in Tulum, Quintana Roo, briefly arrested a gay couple on Wednesday for kissing in public on a beach, allegedly telling the couple that they could not kiss in public because children were present.
According to local media reports, police said they were reacting to a report by someone else on the beach who had claimed that the men were “committing immoral acts.”
Video and photos of the arrest went viral after on social media accounts, including that of local politician Maritza Escalante Morales, who denounced the actions of the officers.
“I want to express my anger because the police here in Quintana Roo are homophobic,” she said on her TikTok account.
The couple were handcuffed together and ordered in to the back of a patrol vehicle until a crowd of onlookers formed and began to shout disapprovingly at police after one of the men explained to the crowd why they were being detained.
The crowd began shouting in support of the couple, calling the actions homophobic and demanding the couple’s release.
The pressure from the crowd apparently prompted officers to release the men after a few minutes of dialogue. The presence of Escalante herself might also have been a factor.
Escalante happened to be at the beach with her family when she noticed the officers approach the couple, she said, and joined the crowd to advocate for the couple’s release.