Protestors took to the streets of Spain's biggest cities this evening to express their anger at the death of a man in a suspected homophobic attack at the weekend.

Crowds filled a central Madrid square and activists marched down a major street in Barcelona, chanting slogans and waving placards and rainbow-coloured flags.

The protests took place after 24-year-old nursing assistant Samuel Luiz was beaten by several assailants near a nightclub in the Galician city of A Coruña on Saturday morning.

He later died in hospital.

Jose Minones, a local government representative in the region where A Coruña is located, tweeted that the police were working to find out what happened and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Local media quoted him as saying the investigation would show whether or not the attack was motivated by homophobia.

"The response to the wave of LGBT-phobic hatred that ended the life of Samuel in A Coruna is overwhelming," the left-wing Podemos party that governs in coalition with the ruling Socialists wrote on Twitter.

Interior Ministry data shows 278 hate crimes related to sexual orientation or gender identity were reported in Spain in 2019, an 8.6% increase on the previous year.

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights warns only a fraction of hate crimes are reported to the police.