An international gay rights organisation is appealing to mayors of cities across Europe to show their support for the right to freedom of assembly and expression for LGBT people.

ILGA-Europe’s campaign, which will continue until September, is also asking cultural, sporting and political celebrities in Europe to speak out.

The first signatories will be announced on 17 May, the International Day Against Homophobia.

On the same day, the appeal with first signatures will be sent to the mayors of those European cities where LGBT Pride marches and other public events have been banned, restricted or faced violence.

Last year Moscow, Riga and the Moldovan capital of Chisinau banned gay Pride events.

LGBT people, when exercising their constitutional right of peaceful assembly, faced violence and on some occasions police authorities provided little or no protection.

Patricia Prendiville, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, commented:

“We have been witnessing unacceptable and illegal actions by some city authorities in Europe for the last few years.

“Despite the calls by various European organisations and institutions, international and national human rights organisations, some city authorities are still prepared to break the law and ban Pride events.

“We hope that European mayors and celebrities will sign our appeal and the year 2007, which is the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All.

“We hope it will be the start of a turning point in Europe and we will not experience any more violations of LGBT people’s right to peaceful assembly.”