Twenty-nine people were arrested by the police in Bratislava on Saturday, May 22, on suspicion of having violated law while protesting against the Rainbow Pride parade planned for the city centre.
One of the organisers of the first-ever gay parade in Slovakia, Peter Weisenbacher, told the TASR newswire that they were disappointed by the fact that the police failed to prepare for the event with improved security measures. According to him, the parade route wasn't covered well enough by the police, allowing aggressive protesters from radical groups to gather along it.
He added that another route had to be found, as the event was scheduled to cross the Danube River to the Bratislava borough of Petržalka where an 'afterparty' took place on Saturday night. But in the end, the parade took place and people moved to Petržalka across the New Bridge (Nový Most).
Around a hundred protesters against the parade gathered in Hviezdoslavovo Square early on Saturday afternoon, including dozens of supporters of the People's Party-Our Slovakia, a political party led by former leaders of extremist movement Slovenská Pospolitosť (Slovak Togetherness). Several attempts to disrupt the Rainbow Pride march took place on the square - such as the throwing of tear-gas canisters, rocks and eggs - some of which resulted in clashes with the police.
Unlike the parade, the protest gathering wasn't announced in advance, said Alena Kopřivová from the local council. The Regional Police Directorate in Bratislava said that more than 200 police officers were delegated to ensure the smooth running of the parade.
Rainbow Pride Bratislava 2010 is being promoted by the organisers as not only meant for gay and lesbians, but for all people who identify themselves with the idea of 'human rights for everyone' and the values of an open society. One of its objectives is to draw attention to the lack of legislation in Slovakia in this sphere.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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