Moldovan Pride participants were guarded by an escort at this year’s parade as counter-protesters were fended off by police who deployed tear gas.
Orthodox Christian protesters were unsuccessful in their attempts to break through a police line with video footage showing the religious hard-liners rinsing their eyes with water having apparently been warded off with tear gas.
The 17th Pride parade took place in Moldova on Sunday with approximately 300 demonstrators marching through the capital Chisinau in the rally against homophobia.
The police escort was a welcomed addition to this year’s rally as a similar event last year was stopped by police to avert a confrontation with religious counter-protesters.
Last year, participants were evacuated in buses by police having been attacked with eggs and water.
Gay Pride in Chisinau, Moldova. Extreme violence against LGBTI community in recent years. President promotes hate speech. Good to be reminded that this freedom is still a battle in many places in Europe. #pride #moldova #humanrights pic.twitter.com/9vbPlcPnX6
— Fernande Pool (@fernandewpool) May 19, 2018
Two days before the rally, more than 20 Western embassies in Moldova, including Ireland, issued a statement in support of this year’s march.
The letter, which was released on IDAHOTB, said: “We note that the 17th LGBTI Festival ‘Moldova Pride’ is currently taking place.
“As the values of tolerance and respect for diversity are fundamental to open democratic societies, we recognize the right of LGBTI-persons and their supporters to conduct the Solidarity March on 19 May 2018 peacefully.
“Each day, individuals face discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Our governments seek to combat such discrimination by promoting the human rights of all.
“Everyone, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons should be free to enjoy the rights and freedoms to which all individuals everywhere are entitled.
“We look forward to a peaceful and safe Solidarity March and continued progress toward equality for all persons in Moldova.”
Heavy police units were deployed to protect around 300 people who joined the gay pride parade in Chisinau, Moldova, taking place in the city from potential attackers, and several people have been arrested. pic.twitter.com/V2rRxn5H3R
— Balkan Insight (@BalkanInsight) May 19, 2018
In 2013 Moldova overturned a gay propaganda ban which banned “the promotion of relationships other than those linked to marriage and the family”.
This law was overturned as the legislation was prohibited for member states of the EU. Moldova has been making steps towards European Union membership since the early 2000’s.
During Moldova’s Pride rally in 2017, President Igor Dodon was accused by the UN for breaching the country’s constitution by saying he was not the president of Moldovan gays.
“I have never promised to be the president of the gays, they should have elected their own president,” Dodon told reporters during last year’s rally.
Ahead of this year’s rally, Dodon said that “only normal families” have a place in Moldova.
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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