Edwin Ortiz was just about to utter "I do," but the mother of his two children and her relatives had a different message: "Oh, no you don't." One moment, the 27-year-old Peruvian was sitting happily in a large wedding hall with 17 other couples, declaring his love for his wife-to-be to TV cameramen in the southern town of Miraflores.
The next, two women relatives of his ex-partner burst into the room, rushed up to Ortiz and began pounding on his head and back while screaming at him. The burly women eventually shoved him and his mother outside into a parking lot, where the ex-partner joined in, Miraflores spokesman Julio Hincho said Wednesday.
The ex-partner's mother, sisters and aunts all participated in Saturday's attack, Hincho said, adding, "Everyone was hauled off to jail."
Ortiz described the woman as his ex-girlfriend, but the family insists she is his wife. Police did not reveal her name and did not clarify Ortiz's marital status.
Ortiz registered himself for the mass wedding as a bachelor with no kids, Hincho said. He later acknowledged having lived with the woman but said they were separated and that he "was starting a new life."
Police officials said that a woman who identified herself as Ortiz's wife filed a complaint against him for attempted "crimes against the family."
The mass wedding ceremony went ahead as planned and all of the couples _ except for Ortiz and his betrothed _ were wed.
The new girlfriend, meanwhile, remained out of sight.
"She doesn't want to talk to anyone," Hincho said.