This Saturday 4 June thousands of gays and gay rights supporters will take to the streets of Bratislava for the second Rainbow Pride march to raise public awareness of how the LGBT community is discriminated against.
If last year’s event is anything to go by, the event will not go without its fair share of controversy and counter demonstrations. The police were out in force last year, and this year they are taking special precautions once again to prevent any attacks from homophobic extremists on the peaceful march, with hundreds of officers ready to intervene.
Last year there were a few clashes with the police, who eventually took 29 of the counter demonstrators in for question, and the actual march had to be redirected last year for fear of trouble.
This year the event has received the official support of around 20 ambassadors to Slovakia, who all lent their signatures to a common statement yesterday expressing their backing for the gay rights movement. The statement reads: “We, as members of the international community, stand both literally and figuratively with parade participants as they peacefully assemble to stand up for their human rights, and raise awareness of the LGBT community in Slovakia”.
The statement goes on to say how everyone should be free to enjoy the rights afforded under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that the ambassadors “salute the efforts of the Slovak authorities” in protecting LGBT right.
Many would argue that very little is being done by “Slovak authorities” in this respect, though, as the governing coalition was not even able to issue a declaration condemning persecution of gays throughout the world, thanks to the stance of the Christian democrats KDH, who refused to support the declaration and also recently rejected the establishment of a section in the Human Rights Committee dealing with gay rights.
Deputy PM for Human Rights and Minorities, Rudolf Chmel from the Most-Hid party, issued a statement in which he says “I believe that the day will come when our society legally acknowledges that homosexual couples are capable of establishing long-lasting partnerships just like heterosexual couples, and that they deserve not only equal rights, but also equal social respect”.
The Rainbow Pride march has been preceded by a host of accompanying events it looks set to be as colourful and entertaining as it was last year. There will be speeches by various public figures and concerts by well-know Slovak and Czech artists. The official start of the event on Hviezdoslavovo namestie at 1 pm. A full schedule can be found here.