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First published at eurOut.

Last Saturday, May 22, the first ever Slovak Pride Parade Dúhový PRIDE took place in Bratislava. Alas, not without disruptions.

Green MEPs Marije Cornelissen (NL) and Ulrike Lunacek (AT) (Photo: Dúhový PRIDE)

According to The European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBT Rights about 1000 people had gathered for the pride parade. Before the parade itself had even started a rally for LGBT rights was interrupted by a group of neo-nazi counter-protesters. Ulrike Lunacek, Member of the European Parliament (Green Party Austria), who was giving a speech at the rally writes in her blog that the protesters had tried to hit her with small stones.

Lunacek also says that after two young gay men were beaten up on their way from the rally, all participants were asked to remove rainbowflags or other visible signs when moving away from police protected parts of the rally or parade for their own safety.

counter-protesters (Photo: Dúhový PRIDE)

The pride march had been planned to lead right through Bratislava's city centre. But it became increasingly clear that there were right wing extremists along this route. When on top of everything a tear gas grenade was launched it was finally decided to walk directly to the place where the after party was going to be held, taking the bridge across the Danube accompanied by police protection.

tear gas (Photo: Dúhový PRIDE)

What shocked us all was not the handful of hateful bigots on hand, but the collective indifference of "normal" Slovaks to this hatred, so eloquently expressed in the reluctance of our protectors.
Tom Nicholson for The Slovak Spectator
The organisers of Dúhový PRIDE were disappointed that the police hadn't been better prepared, says Slovakia is still a very conservative country and this was the first pride parade, the police should have anticipated complications. Slovenské pospolitost' (Slovak Brotherhood), a far right group had even announced counter-protests "for the future of family, against perverts" beforehand.

(Photo: Dúhový PRIDE)

I was particularly proud of the participants, who didn't panic and showed a lot of courage.
US chargé d'affaires Keith Eddins (The Slovak Spectator)
To have this courage, to go out there and be proud of who we are, to show the world around us, again and again, that yes, we are here, we are queer and they'll just have to get used to it is what Pride Parades are about. And even if they knew that there would be others trying to stop them, even if the police didn't always provide the protection they'd hoped for, people in Bratislava did have the heart to go out and show who they are. In this sense I do think that Dúhový PRIDE was a success.

Embedded videos of the events can be found at SMEsk (Slovak language only).


joan_psmith: name icon (Default)
Joan Y. Psmith
"Because we're grown-ups now, and it's our turn to decide what that means."
~ xkcd

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