Last Saturday’s debut Gay Pride march in Bratislava, Slovakia, had to be called off because of hundreds of neo-Nazis lining the planned route.

The anti-gay protestors attacked the crowd of would-be marchers with rocks and tear-gas grenades and verbally abused them, branding them “deviants” and “perverts”.

The limited number of police employed as security suggested that the strength of opposition to the march had been grossly underestimated. However, 17 foreign embassies in the country issued a joint statement in support of the march. The statement said: “Our countries, like Slovakia, are committed to defending basic rights and freedoms and in ensuring equality and dignity for all.”

British Ambassador Michael Roberts said: “I was quite pleased by how quickly the Pride security and the police dealt with the various incidents.” However, Jan Slota, who is head of the Slovak National Party which is a coalition partner in Prime Minister Robert Fico’s government had said he would attend the parade personally, “in order to spit”.

His comment drew little criticism from leading politicians in this largely Catholic country.