Michael Cashman, Labour MEP and President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights has said there are “simply no excuses” for the wave of recent cancellations, bans and violence at Pride marches in several European cities.
The former EastEnder blamed authorities and police for not providing enough protection to gay events in countries such as Turkey, Russia, and Latvia.
He said: “From Moscow in Russia to Bursa in Turkey we have seen too many examples of authorities and police not taking their responsibilities seriously enough and being unwilling or unable to avoid violent clashes between peaceful Pride marchers and mindless, intolerant thugs intent on spreading hate and discrimination.
“Members of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian rights have been at the forefront of promoting Gay rights and non-discrimination across Europe and our members have been present in Pride marches throughout Europe over the summer.
“I attended the Warsaw Pride which, fortunately for all present, went off without significant difficulties thanks to a large police presence.
“However, we were saddened to hear of violence and disruptions which marred the proposed marches this summer in Riga, Latvia and Tallinn, Estonia to cite just two.
“I have written to the Turkish authorities asking for an explanation as to why authorities in Bursa were unable to provide security for the march and reminding them of the importance for EU Member States of the basic rights of freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and non-discrimination.”
“It’s time for the hate to stop and for European countries both inside and outside the EU to defend the rights of their LGBT citizens.”
Recent pride marches in Moscow, Bucharest, Riga and Tallinn have been met with protest from Christian and neo nazi groups.
The European Union recently passed a resolution to combat homophobia on the continent.