Violence casts a shadow over gay Pride
Romania’s gay pride celebration on Saturday was marred as police used tear gas against protesters who hurled stones at marchers in the capital city Bucharest, officials said.
According to the Associated Press, about 100 people were detained for throwing stones and fireworks at police and about 400 participants in the gay rights march, said Christian Ciocan, a police spokesman.
Police responded with tear gas. Nobody was injured, he said.
“We regret that our opponents use violence … Police only did their job to protect an authorized march,” said Florin Buhuceanu, one of the organizers of the gay rights march, to the AP.
“It is our right to express our beliefs and we will not renounce in the face of violence.”
DPA reports that the attackers were not identified as part of any organised group, though authorities suspect connections to a right-wing religious association Noua Dreapta, or the New Right, which rallied Saturday morning against the gay-rights march later in the day.
The march was organised by Accept, a Romanian gay-rights advocacy group.
DPA also reports that the Romanian Orthodox Church planned special Saturday evening masses nationwide to pray against what it believes are “sins” being promoted by the gay-rights rally.
Romania decriminalised homosexuality in 2001 and joined the EU at the start of this year.
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