Moldova police helping gay bashers attack minorities

Source: The Tiraspol Times and Weekly Review
13 May 2008

Moldova police helping gay bashers attack minorities

With Moldova’s police providing protective cover, armed gay bashers attacked a bus of participants bound for a march in Chisinau. It is the second year in a row that the march had to be canceled as a result of violence. Victims say authorities are aiding and abetting by allowing the gay bashing to take place.

By Karen Ryan, 13/May/2008

CHISINAU (Tiraspol Times) – For the second time in two years, a gay pride event had to be called off after homophobic mobs attacked organizers and participants in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, as police simply watched on.

Participants bound for Sunday’s peaceful march were outnumbered by screaming crowds of Romanian/Moldovan nationalists who attacked their bus and barred them from reaching their destination. Observers reported that the attacks took place under the watchful eyes of Moldovan police who, in the words of one victim, “provided a cover of legality for the gay bashing to occur.”

Moldovian mob attacking a busload of gay pride marchersThe attackers included hundreds of people from extremist groups and members of the neo-fascist movement ‘New Right’. Although the march had originally been allowed, police expected it to come under attack and stood aside to let the attacks happen. Some 500 thugs tried to force open the doors of the bus before trying to smash the windows. They also attempted to tamper with the engine as the terrorized the victims inside with death threats.

” – Lets get them out and beat them up,” some of them yelled. “Beat them to death, don’t let them escape,” shouted others.

Trapped on bus

After similar homophobic attacks on a gay event last year, GenderDoc-M, Moldova’s gay organization, had asked for protection for this year’s march. Instead, police helped attackers by allowing them to harm the participants with impunity.

” – The police did not facilitate the exit of pride participants from the bus into the street, did not prevent the rival aggressive groups from intervention, and through their passivity encouraged escalation of violence and the build up of the all-permissive hostile atmosphere,” said a spokesperson from GenderDoc-M. Desperate for help, victims within the bus tried to call the police nine times but were ignored and left to their own fate.

The 60 gay pride participants were trapped in the bus for almost an hour. The crowds then forced the bus doors open and demanded that the victims had to destroy all of their march materials in order to be allowed to leave the bus safely. The materials included banners asking for anti-discrimination law and tolerance, as well as rainbow balloons which were pierced to the jubilant victory screams of the crowd.

Many of the crowd outside were teenagers dressed up in military clothing, some wearing masks, others carrying homophobic signs. An older crowd of men were on the periphery egging the teenagers on, under the watchful eyes of passive uniformed police.

Chisinau Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca responsible

The organization which tried to organize this weekend’s failed march says that Moldovan police helped facilitate the latest attack on sexual minorities.

” – The police silently approved all the actions of aggressive adversaries of this action”, said Aleksei Marcicov of the Gender-Doc-M group. His group puts the blame directly on Chisinau Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca, saying that since he came into power, all public meetings of gays have been banned.

” – Since May 2005, eight public meetings arranged by GenderDoc-M have been banned. Absence of action by police amounts to grave violations of the right to freedom of assembly and puts in danger the personal security of all march participants.”

Amnesty International demanded urgent explanations from Moldova about the gay attacks. At a news conference held on Monday, local Amnesty International director Evghenii Golosciapov directly blamed Chisinau police, saying that “they are very concerned with the actions by the Chisinau Mayor’s office and the police, aimed at violating the right of freedom of assembly.”

Gay bashers went on the offensive again on Monday with a series of press conferences calling for criminalization of homosexual activities. According to Moldovan priest Vasile Filat who helped organize Sunday’s attacks, about 500 people who opposed GenderDoc-M had gathered to combat the 60 march participants. Along with Natalia Boico from an organization called English for New Life he signed a declaration condemning GenderDoc-M and calling for the group to be outlawed. Boico and Filat also held a news conference urging authorities to forbid the activities of a group fighting for gay rights, the Coalition Against Discrimination.

On the other side of the Dniester river, authorities from the ‘de facto’ independent state of Pridnestrovie are considered more tolerant of gay and lesbian couples. Nevertheless, a number of inhabitants in both Moldova and Pridnestrovie still suffer from Soviet-era stereotypes rejecting free and open displays of homosexuality in public.

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