60 gay pride parade participants were trapped inside a bus in Chişinău, Moldova yesterday. Their vehicle was attacked by hundreds of people from extremist religious groups and members of the neo-fascist movement ‘New Right’ as police simply watched on.
The Moldovan Supreme Court and the provisions of the European Human Rights Convention had ruled that a gay pride parade could go ahead in the city, however when they came under attack, the police stood to one side and let it happen. The thugs tried to force open the door of the bus, before trying to smash the windows. They also attempted to tamper with the engine.
“Lets get them out and beat them up,” some of them yelled. “Beat them to death, don’t let them escape,” shouted others.
GenderDoc-M, Moldova’s gay organisation, had informed authorities of the route of the march and had asked for protection. The freedom of assembly laws in Moldova guarantee all citizens the right to assemble peacefully and as such police are obliged to protect the safety of those participants. According to UK Gay News, this just didn’t happen.
“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. Apparently those within the bus tried to call the police nine times, but to no avail.
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.
The 60 gay pride participants were trapped in the bus for almost an hour. Eventually two men forced the bus doors open and said that if they wanted to safely leave the bus they had to destroy all of their march materials – which were banners asking for anti-discrimination law and tolerance, as well as rainbow balloons.
Those on the bus did so, the two men ordered an end to the siege, and the bus was allowed to make its way back to the gay group’s headquarters. The offices were surrounded later by hundreds of people demanding the pride participants come out and face them.
Meanwhile a crowd gathered in the Great National Assembly Square carrying homophobic banners which read, “Family is the Union between Man and Woman”, “Homosexuality is a Sin”, “Immorality Ruins Society”, “Moldova – Christian Country”, and “Do Not Turn Sin into Virtue”.
A spokesperson from GenderDoc-M says that since the new Mayor came into power, the only organisation who has had its public gatherings banned has been theirs.
“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.”