Some 500 homosexuals took part in the second yearly gay pride parade in Bucharest on Saturday, part of the GayFest festival dedicated to promoting tolerance and indiscrimination towards sexual minorities. But the event was marred by violence as the Romanian gendarmes guarding the demonstrators clashed with passers-by and anti-gay activists that try to block the event.

The parade started late in the afternoon, several hours after another march in Bucharest – the first large scale event organized by the New Right extremist movement. Some several hundred people took part in this event, with the spoken or silent support of the Romanian Orthodox Church, the populist New Generation Party leader – businessman Gigi Becali and various politicians.

The Orthodox Church has been militating against the homosexual events constantly for several days, as it considered them “an attack on the morality of public life, on the sacred institution of family and a danger for the formation of younger generation”.

The gay parade on Saturday was the peak of the GayFest festival that started on May 30. It was organized by the Accept Association for the protection of sexual minority rights, which has been pushing for the acceptance of official same-sex partnerships in Romania.

The event comes after an Amnesty International report last month showed some 40% of Romanians would like to see homosexuals out of the country and recalled the strong opposition of state authorities and the Orthodox Church towards last year’s gay pride parade.