About 800 people, most under 25 years of age, attended the Rainbow Pride rally and parade held in Bratislava on June 9 to support the rights of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, including politicians and some supporters of the traditional family. About 100 police officers monitored the event and the rally ended without any major disturbances, with only rain and two minor incidents affecting the event, the TASR newswire reported.
The rally began with three symbolic wedding ceremonies, with gay, lesbian and heterosexual couples exchanging vows on a stage. Later the participants marched to the Government Office and through nearby streets to the SNP Square.
The police had to intervene at the very beginning of the rally when an unknown person threw a smoke grenade into the crowd on Námestie Slobody (Freedom Square). Later, police arrested two people for violating the ban on pyrotechnics.
One of the organisers of the rally, Romana Schlesinger from the Queer Leaders Forum, said that even though she does not expect the rally to lead to immediate changes in legislation, she hopes it has drawn more attention to the problems of the LGBT community in the country, TASR reported.
The event was attended by representatives of embassies in Bratislava which had endorsed the rally as well as two MPs from the European Parliament, Austria’s Ulrike Lunacek and Slovakia’s Monika Flašíková-Beňová. Several political representatives from the opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) and Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) parties also attended.
None of Slovakia’s top three elected officials, President Ivan Gašparovič, Prime Minister Robert Fico and speaker of parliament Pavol Paška, attended.
Alongside the Rainbow Pride event were about 50 young Christian families who created a human chain in front of the parliament to express their support for traditional values and heterosexual marriages, TASR wrote.
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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