Thousands have taken to the streets of Slovakia to protest against homophobia in the country. This comes after two people were tragically killed, and another injured, as a result of a shooting outside a queer bar in Bratislava last week.
Among those assembling in the streets of the capital city were Slovakian President Zuzana Caputova, Primer Minister Eduard Heger and the Mayor of Bratislava Matúš Vallo. Caputova also raised the rainbow flag next to the national flag at the Presidential Palace, exclaiming: “Let’s not remain silent in the face of hatred”.
“This week we lost two LGBTQI+ youths to hatred and intolerance. Hate crimes are an attack on the whole society, of which the LGBTQI+ community is a valuable member,” the first-ever female President of Slovakia stated at the protest.
“My thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims of the horrific Bratislava attack and the whole LGBTQ community… Words can become weapons. Hate kills. As politicians, we must evaluate every word we say before it is too late,” she added.
Thousands of people united across #Slovakia to say “no” to hate speech and in solidarity with LGBTQI+ community. pic.twitter.com/Tjguk8d3ky
— Zuzana Čaputová (@ZuzanaCaputova) October 16, 2022
On the evening of Wednesday, October 12, Juraj Krajcik opened fire outside a well-known queer venue, Tepláreň, in Bratislava. Two men under the age of 30 died as a result of the attack, and another woman, who is an employee of the venue, was taken to hospital for her injuries.
After a brief manhunt, the body of the 19 year-old gunman was found hours after the fatal shooting, with reports stating that he had a series of homophobic and anti-Semitic posts on his social media. Krajcik is said to be the son of a former prominent far-right politician, and he allegedly used his father’s weapon to carry out the attack.
Slovakia’s National Crime Agency has described the incident as premeditated murder, motivated by hatred of a sexual minority.
at least 20k people have gathered in #Bratislava for a march against hate 💔😞🏳️🌈
📷 Marko Ere: @denniksme pic.twitter.com/40bv8uAB4z
— Queer Doctor 🏳️🌈 (@InclusiveLucie) October 14, 2022
Speaking to The Slovak Spectator, venue owner Roman Samotný commented: “It hurts terribly, because the people who died were also our friends and loved ones. It’s a huge loss. A huge loss of people, and a loss of home. Tepláreň was home for us. It was where we felt safe. We were like a family.”
He continued by stating: “It was not an accident. The killer came there to execute people. He’s been planning this for a long time, if the Twitter posts are true. He came simply to murder LGBT+ people. He probably wanted as many of them as possible to be there. He just came to kill.”
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