On 11 June 2011, two very different Pride events took pace in Europe: the very first pride event in Split (Croatia) and EuroPride in Rome. ILGA-Europe’s representatives took part in both events which clearly showed what different realities lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people in Europe live in. While Rome was a massive celebration of diversity, the event in Split turned violent and demonstrated inability and unwillingness of the police forces to ensure safety and to prevent violence.
ILGA-Europe is appalled by the inadequate actions of the Croatian police, which caused a situation when the participants of the Pride March were forced to march next to the violent crowd. Due to such an inadequate police arrangement, the violent hooligans were free to shower the participants of the Pride march with petards, stones, ash trays and other objects. A number of people were hit, including Linda Freimane, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board.
She said: “It was a scary and horrifying experience. When the shower of petards and stones begun, the police did not push back the aggressive crowd and made us walk along the violent protesters and hooligans. There was definitely a feeling of uncertainty and disbelief that the police is allowing this to happen.”
ILGA-Europe condemns the indecisive and passive behaviour of the Croatian police and calls for an official investigation.
Linda Freimane continued: “The European Union just concluded its accession talks with Croatia, which is expected to join the Union in 2013. However, the events at Split Pride raise many questions over this country’s ability to ensure the very basic right of free and peaceful assembly of minority groups. While we welcome the condemnation of the violence by the Croatian President and the Croatian Prime Minister, it is clear that the Ministry of Interior and the police were not prepared and did not act adequately during the outburst of violence. Therefore relevant EU institutions need to carefully examine this particular event and continue scrutinising Croatia in how it ensures fundamental freedoms and human rights to all.”
Media coverage of Split Pride: