Zagreb/Belgrade – An estimated 300 people were arrested and five hospitalized after violence erupted to protest the first Gay Pride parade in the Croatian port city of Split on Saturday, news website Index reported.
Police used teargas and batons to protect between 150-300 gay rights supporters when a 10,000-strong mob attacked them, hurling stones, bottles and ashtrays from cafes on the stretch where the parade was taking place.
Unable to contain the violence, police were forced to break off the parade and evacuate the participants.
‘Split demonstrated that it is not a city of tourism with its summer slogan, ‘Death to gays’,’ Index reported. ‘Shame in Split,’ was a headline on the daily Vecernji List’s online edition.
Sqanja Juras of the Croatian gay rights organization Kontra said that the violence in the city on the Adriatic coast was a ‘shame and debacle of the Croatian state.’
Violence directed at homosexuals, mainly organized by far-right groups, plagues much of the region. Last October, thousands of protesters besieged central Belgrade attempting to disrupt the first-ever Gay Pride parade there.
In contrast to Split and Belgrade, however, Croatian capital Zagreb has held largely trouble-free Gay Pride parades every June since 2002.
Source – Monsters & Critics