Split Pride Parade under pressure
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee expresses full support for the Split Pride Parade “Equal before the Law”, which despite political pressure and threats of violence will be organized on Saturday 9 June.
Last year's parade was met by thousands of protesters, several of those were involved in violent attacks against the paraders, the police and private property. Local authorities have made it very clear that the parade this year is not welcome. The mayor of Split has even stated that "faggots should keep their faggoting out of sight for the citizens of Split." Such statements surpasses any level of decency one would expect from a public official in a country on a steady path towards membership in the European Union.
- We are concerned that anti-gay groups might interpret such statements as an excuse to attack the parade, says General Secretary Bjørn Engesland. - State officials publically discrediting the parade rewards the behavior of people that promotes homophobic attitudes and those who are responsible for the violence that we saw at the Split Pride Parade last year, Engesland continues.
We welcome the announcement from the police that it will ensure that the parade can proceed as planned. However, the increasingly heated public discourse as the parade is getting closer calls for a high level of public attention towards the protection of the paraders.
In addition to the parade in Split, a support event will be organized in Rijeka the same day. On the 16th of June, the Pride Parade of Zagreb will be held.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee calls on Croatian authorities to make sure that local resistance will not prevent this manifestation of human rights for sexual and gender minorities, carefully prepared by the organisers of the parade, to proceed in a safe and dignified manner.
The Pride parades in both Split and Zagreb are great opportunities for a enhanced committment by Croatia to meet their constitutional and international obligations, and Croatia should seize this opportunity.