LGBT+ and feminist groups have taken to the streets of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, in protest after a lesbian couple were tortured and murdered.

Nohemi Medina Martinez and Yulizsa Ramirez, both 28 and living in Texas, were killed while visiting family in Ciudad Juárez, a city in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

The couple, who leave behind three children, were tortured, murdered and dismembered, then dumped on the street in rubbish bags.

There have now been 68 people murdered in the city so far this month, 11 of whom were women. According to La Verdad, 1,424 people were murdered in Ciudad Juárez throughout 2021, including 180 women.

On Thursday (20 January), feminist and LGBT+ groups gathered in protest outside the office of Chihuahua state attorney general Eje Vial Juan Gabriel, begging for an end to the horrific violence.

11 women have been murdered in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, this month. (AFP via Getty/ HERIKA MARTINEZ)

The protest was led by the groups Programa Compañeros, Red Mesa de Mujeres and the Marcha de las Diversidades Afectivo Sexuales, and participants chanted: “No nos maten por ser diferentes (Don’t kill us for being different).”

Their demands included a full investigation into the murders, which would take into account the possibility of a hate crime based on gender and sexual orientation, according to El Paso Times.

The groups wrote in a joint statement: “We are calling on society to pay attention to the awful violence that women in Juárez suffer, as there have already been a series of violent events in the city at the start of the year… Even if LGBT+ people are victims of hate crimes, the investigating institutions do not give sufficient attention to whether the crimes had to do with sexual orientation and/ or gender identity.”

Two government agencies – the National Council to Prevent Discrimination (CONAPRED) and the National Commission to Prevent and Eradicate Violence against Women (CONAVIM) – also released a statement calling for the investigation to look into issues of “hate crime and lesbophobia”.

The demanded that the authorities in Chihuahua “investigate and punish the reprehensible murders, and reinforce public policies to combat lesbophobia and other phobias faced by people of sexual diversity”.

The governor of Chihuahua, Maru Campos, promised earlier this week that Martinez and Ramirez’s murders would “not go unpunished”, and while an investigation is ongoing, there have been no arrests made.

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