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A mum and daughter were confronted by an official before having their hired buggy vandalised, after being mistaken for a couple while posing for a photo on a beach.
Mother and daughter Marileia and Karina Ramos were on a beach in Brazil, when the authorities got a complaint that a 'lesbian couple' was committing a 'lewd act' on the beach in front of young children.
An official from the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation, the administrative arm of the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment, confronted the pair on Sueste Beach in Brazil's Fernando de Noronha archipelago on 11 December.
They had hugged for a photo together before being asked what they were doing.
According to daughter Karina, who is from the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, she was with her mother, husband and stepfather when the official approached them and spoke to them for around three minutes.
Karina told local media: "He wasn't rude, but he came asking, 'Do you know the rules of the (Fernando de Noronha Marine National) Park?'
"We thought we might have done something wrong, like swimming in a forbidden area.
"Then he said, 'It's because I've received a complaint from some people up there over a 'lewd act' between two women.' No one understood."
According to Karina, her mum then realised that the 'act' could have been when they were lying down on the sand hugging as they posed for a photo, which was taken about five minutes earlier.
Marileia then informed the official that Karina was her daughter, after which the officer told them to forget what had happened.
Karina suspects the complaint may have been motivated by bigotry, telling local media: "I realised at the time that it was because of prejudice or homophobia.
"We'd been travelling for six days, both with our husbands, and there'd been no problem. When we said we were mother and daughter, I saw that he got all embarrassed."
Karina said they stayed on the beach for about 15 minutes, but when they left, the front windscreen of their hire buggy had been smashed.
She added: "The feeling we got was of fear when we saw the smashed buggy. And what if it had been just me and my mum, like on previous occasions?
"Maybe I've only gone through this situation a couple of times in my life, but if we were a couple, what would be the problem? Can't gay people go to Noronha?"
The company EcoNoronha, which provides tourist infrastructure to the archipelago, has since gotten in touch with Karina to apologise for what happened.
Police are also investigating a complaint later filed by Karina about the incident.
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