LGBT+ activist Zak Kostopoulos who was murdered in Athens on Friday has been laid to rest in the village of Kirra where he grew up.
The funeral was attended by Kostopoulos’ parents, friends, locals and members of the LGBT+ community who ensured the burial was celebrated the way he lived his life and that his role in LGBT+ advocacy was remembered.
Instead of throwing dirt on the coffin, which is tradition in Greece, mourners threw glitter. “In the end, the grave wasn’t brown anymore, it was pink and blue and purple, shiny glitter everywhere, tiny gay flags everywhere,” Kostopoulos’ friend and journalist Christina Michalou told PinkNews. “Some drag queens threw their wigs in the grave too.”
Kostopoulos was an accomplished drag performer named Zackie Oh and appeared in a Vice Greece about his drag persona Zackie Oh and also appeared in a short film about living as an HIV positive man.
He is also set to appear in another short film about LGBT+ life in Athens, titled Faster Than Light which has not yet been released.
A video surfaced which showed an unarmed Kostopoulos being kicked to death by two men in front of a crowd of onlookers. Passersby tried to intervene and although the police were close by, they failed to stop the attack.
The incident took place after he entered a jewelry shop in order to seek protection from a fight happening on the street. He apparently became trapped inside the shop’s door space once the security door closed automatically.
A viral video documenting Kostopoulos’ death is circulating. The video shows Kostopoulos struggling to stand while leaving the shop through its window after breaking it with a fire extinguisher. The shop owner then chases Kostopoulos and proceeds to beat him with another man in front of an onlooking crowd. When police officers arrived, they put Kostopoulos in handcuffs.
Kostopoulos reportedly died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital as a result of his injuries. The shop owner and another man who were filmed beating Kostopoulos have been arrested and Kostopoulos’ family is seeking homicide charges.
Following Zak’s murder, a rally of around 500 people marched through the streets of Athens in protest.
The LGBT+ community has reacted to the news of Zak’s death. Rise Up To HIV shared their video in which Zak spoke about being diagnosed with HIV.
They said, “We are sad, angry, and in shock upon learning of Zak’s murder. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Zak’s family, friends, and all who were inspired by him throughout the world. ”
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