Sunday, June 04, 2006
MOB TARGETS GAY RIGHTS PARADE IN ROMANIA
A huge mob of bigots clashed with gay and lesbian activists during the second annual GayFest march in the Romanian capital. The mob threw eggs, stones and bottles at the marchers.
Many of the marchers blew whistles and sang patriotic songs, shouting "Homophobia has to go".
Riot police stepped in and arrested dozens of the violent homophobes, using batons and teargas to hold them at bay.
Earlier in the day, a right-wing Christian group, the New Right, staged a march devoted to family values and faith in response to the gay pride march.
The "New Right" (Noua Dreaptă) is one of several groupings that evoke the legacy of the fascist Iron Guard of the 30's and 40's. The group's beliefs include militant nationalism and strong Orthodox religious convictions. The group attacks all the traditional targets of the nazi like Iron Guard. For example the party has distributed leaflets entitled "Stop the Gypsyisation of Romania." The leaflets appealed to the citizens of Romania to not "passively assist the propagation of the Gypsy phenomenon." It also has singled out ethnic Hungarians for physical and verbal assault. It has aligned itself with a wide variety of European anti-Semitic organizations as well.
The stated ultimate political aim of Noua Dreaptă is to restore Greater Romania, which represented Romania at its greatest geographic expanse before World War II. The group also states it is strongly opposed to the principles of representative democracy, which it sees as an "inadequate" form of government.
The following report is from 365 Gay.
Brawls, Arrests Mar Romanian Gay Pride
(Bucharest) A gay pride march through central Bucharest turned into a riot on Saturday with police resorting to tear gas to gain control of more than a thousand protestors bent on disrupting the parade.
Ten people were injured and more than 50 arrested before police were able to maintain order.
Several hundred gays set out on the pride march but they were badly outnumbered by protestors - many of them from the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Before the parade began a church leader egged on the faithful.
Bishop Ciprian Campineanu told a televised rally that the Bucharest march was "an outrage to morality and to the family".
Nuns and priests were among the crowd that lined the streets hurling eggs and bottles at the gay marchers as they passed by.
Extreme nationalists had warned there would be trouble if the parade went on. To show support for Romania's largely closeted LGBT community dozens of from across Europe marched in solidarity.
As protestors became more rowdy police attempted to use their batons hold back the the crowd but scuffles broke out with police and demonstrators broke through the police line pummeling gays.
As the situation grew worse tear gas canisters were hurled into the crowd of protesters to disperse them.
Although homosexuality is no longer a crime in Romania most gays are closeted.
While gay pride in Romania was marred by violence, the LGBT community in Poland has won a major victory.
Authorities in Warsaw have given the go-ahead for a pride parade next weekend. But they also gave a permit for a parade to the ultra-Catholic Polish Youth organization to hold a counter march.
For the past several years gays were denied parade permits. The mayor of Warsaw at the time, Lech Kaczynski - now Poland's president - said he was against "against propagating gay orientation".
Last year more than 2,500 people ignored Kaczynski's pride ban and march anyway. They met by members of Catholic Polish Youth who hurled eggs at the marchers.