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Moldovan Pride threatened, cops refuse protection
Moldovan Pride threatened, cops refuse protection
- From a statement released by GenderDoc-M on the ILGA Europe website (www.ilga-europe.org). On May 10, participants in the 7th Moldovan Pride were precluded from marching peacefully in support of anti-discrimination legislation and tolerance in the centre of Chisinau. Police did not guarantee the right to freedom of assembly. Large aggressive coordinated groups, including extremist religious groups, members of the neo-fascist movement "New Right," and legionnaires blocked the bus with participants, forced the door, violently hit the windows, and attempted to remove the engine, while shouting "let's get them out and beat them up."

The police distanced itself from the events by taking the role of passive observers. GenderDoc-M has informed local authorities and the ministry of internal affairs as early as 21st of April about the route of the march, and asked for protection. The law on freedom of assembly of Moldova guarantees peaceful assembly to everyone, and puts an obligation on the police to guarantee the exercise of the right and the safety of participants. The police did not facilitate the exit of pride participants from the bus into the street, did not side out the rival aggressive groups from intervention, and through their passivity encouraged escalation of violence and the built up of the all-permissive hostile atmosphere. Independent human rights observers witnessed hatred shouts, such as "Beat them to death," "Don't let them escape." No medical emergency was foreseen.

About 60 people were blocked in the bus for over 45 minutes. Two unidentified well-built men, wearing the signs of the rival groups, forced the doors from both sides of the bus and demanded ceasing of all march materials (banners asking for anti-discrimination law and tolerance, European Union and Moldovan flags and rainbow balloons) as condition for lifting the blockage of the bus. According to the estimates of independent observers from 200 to 400 people had surrounded the bus & no police was identified by the [witnesses]. Some six traffic police cars stood approximately 100 meters away without taking any action whatsoever. GenderDoc-M has made nine unsuccessful attempts to call the police . . .

Another crowd of approximately several hundred people surrounded GenderDoc-M office demanding that pride participants exit the office. Two police and one ambulance cars observed from distance the events. The office remained blocked for several hours.

In parallel to the events described above, several hundred people of all ages, men and women gathered on the Great National Assembly Square, carrying banners saying "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."

All remaining activities, including a small meeting, sightseeing in Chisinau and visit of historic places in Moldova were cancelled due to lack of security . . .

GenderDoc-M calls on Moldovan authorities to guarantee freedom of peaceful assembly and expression to everyone. We also call on the Ministry of Internal Affairs to fulfill their lawful responsibilities and ensure exercise of the right to freedom of assembly and safety of those taking part in public manifestations.

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