Tear gas and fireworks were used by a mob of 150 homophobes, among them nationalist extremists, at a Pride event in the Czech city of Brno today.
It was the country’s first Pride parade.
500 people had gathered for the event. Three people were arrested following the attacks, which injured 20 people.
International tennis star and lesbian icon Martina Navratilova was joined by the Czech minister for human rights and minorities.
200 police faced off the protesters. The authorities banned two anti-Pride marches earlier this week.
The Czech Republic was the first post-communist government to recognise homosexual partnerships. It joined the EU in 2004.
Their registered partnership legislation covers inheritance, maintenance and hospital rights for same-sex partners, but not adoption.
It was initially vetoed by then-president Vaclav Klaus in 2006.
He claimed it increased the state’s power to interfere with individual lives.
In March 2006 his veto was overturned in the Czech lower house.
In a statement on the Pride parade’s website organisers said:
“Although the Registered Partnership Act was adopted in 2006, by which the Czech Republic has joined countries promoting respect for sexual minorities, there are still many problems that call for general attention.
“We want to contribute to the public discussion on issues ranging from the rights of same-sex parents, through the absence of equal rights for individual adoptions for registered partners, bullying of LGBTIQ youth, the invisibility of LGBTIQ seniors, to severe violations of transgender persons amounting to breaches of fundamental human rights and freedoms.”
An opinion poll last year found that nearly 70% of adults in the Czech Republic believe that registered partnership should be available to gays and lesbians.