by Rex Wockner
The gay pride parade in Chisinau, Moldova, was canceled May 11 after the bus carrying the 60 marchers was halted by hundreds of screaming anti-gay protesters who tried to pry open the door, smash the windows and disable the engine.
Police stood by and watched for more than 45 minutes.
In the end, protest leaders boarded the bus and agreed to let it pass if the activists destroyed all their banners and flags, and popped all their rainbow balloons.
The activists did so as the homophobes cheered.
“After ceasing of all materials, the two men ordered to unblock the bus and let it go,” said Boris Balanetkii, head of the pride organizing group, GenderDoc-M. “The bus headed towards GenderDoc-M office, followed by a car with members of the crowd. Participants left the office in dispersed groups on alert of possible repeated attack by the crowd. Another crowd of approximately several hundred people surrounded GenderDoc-M office demanding that pride participants exit the office. … The office remained blocked for several hours.”
All other pride events also were canceled.
Gay activists attempted to stage the march even though Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca had banned it “to avoid any tensions in society.”
He cited objections from religious people, schoolchildren, people posting on the Internet and others who “accuse sexual minorities of aggressiveness and violation of spiritual and moral values.”
Chirtoaca’s ban was illegal, under a 2007 Moldovan Supreme Court ruling that followed the city’s ban of the 2006 parade.
The court determined that GenderDoc-M’s activities are legal and said it “considers unjustified the refusal of the Chisinau city hall to authorize a march of solidarity by GenderDoc-M reasoning that it is a possible threat to the public order, as this motive is disproportional with the right to freedom of assembly, guaranteed by … the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.”