Several dozen skinheads attacked Slovakia's first gay pride on Saturday, wounding several and forcing the cancellation of the parade through the center of the Slovak capital of Bratislava. Gay activists and eyewitnesses blame authorities for inadequate protection, reports the Slovak Spectator.
"Members of the neo-Nazi group Slovenská Pospolitosť attacked the participants at a pre-parade rally for LGBT rights. A tear gas canister thrown by one of the approximately 80 neo-Nazis interrupted the rally, attended by 500 people, while the extremists also were throwing eggs at the participants, the Sme daily reported.Two rally participants who were carrying a rainbow flag, the symbol of the parade, were attacked by the neo-Nazis at Hviezdoslav Square in Bratislava. They attacked the flag barriers with their fists in the face, the SITA newswire reported.
The rally and parade had been announced long in advance and observers said that the police had enough time to prepare for the security and safety of the parade participants. 'Instead of the parade of pride, Slovakia has experienced a day of shame,' wrote Sme’s deputy editor-in-chief Lukáš Fila in his commentary suggesting that the attack by the neo-Nazis against the participants shows a failure by the state."
Bratislava authorities say the official crowd count was more than 1,000. Eight skinheads were arrested by police, which asked organizers to cancel the parade, reports the AFP. Ulrike Lunacek, an openly gay Euro-MP from Austria, was hit by a rock but not injured.
Similar violent attacks were seen at gay pride events earlier this month in Belarus and Lithuania. You'll recall that last May in Russia, dozens were arrested and many were injured as Moscow's riot police violently dispersed a gay rights march. Watch a short clip of the Slovak neo-Nazi march AFTER THE JUMP ...