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Bucharest gay parade marked by violence

Luni, 11 iunie 2007, 0:00


A call by the Romanian Orthodox Church for people to pray in the street for the salvation of homosexuals’ souls could not prevent violence at the gay parade that took place on Saturday at the end of the GayFest 2007 festival in Bucharest last week.

Photo gallery: Gay Fest parade

A March of Diversity bringing together some 200 sexual minority people and civil rights supporters was booed and thrown at with eggs and rocks, prompting the massive gendarmerie presence to clash with anti-gay protesters.

The March of Diversity took place in downtown Bucharest between the Unirii Boulevard and the Libertatii Boulevard on Saturday. The 200 marchers were accompanied by almost three times as many police officers and gendarmes - about 700 according to various accounts.

The marchers were helding banners urging people to tolerate minorities. The event was organized by the ACCEPT association for the rights of sexual minorities.

But the quiet still colorful event almost came to a halt when several hundred youth tried to attack the march. The police intervened with tear gas grenades and was welcomed with bottles and rocks in two rounds of clashes that resulted in the arrests of dozens of people.

The march was preceded by another protest organized by the Romanian New Right movement seen as many as the continuator of Romanian fascism. It was also boycotted by anti-fascist protesters in a rare appearance that also resulted in several arrests on Saturday morning.

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