Hate mob lays siege to gay TV star’s home

Petar Stojkovikj, a famous actor and celebrity, has become the latest victim of attacks targeting Macedonia’s LGBT community

An angry mob has surrounded the home of a famous Macedonian gay TV star, shouting abuse and hurling objects at the house, where he lives with sick, old mother.

The actor, called Petar Stojkovikj, is the latest victim of attacks targeting members of Macedonia’s gay community, including throwing bricks and stones at the local LGBT center, and sending death threats to one of its key advocates, Bekim Asani.

Leading European politicians and human rights advocates have called into question Macedonia’s accession to become member of the European Union if such violence is not condemned and stopped.

Stojkovikj told Gay Star news that on Tuesday (25 June) night at 22:50 local time, a mob gathered around and stoned his house as they shouted: ‘Faggots! We will fuck your motherfucking homosexual asses’.

He recounted: ‘Fortunately no one was injured and no damage was caused. The case was reported to the police.

‘Police officers came to investigate the scene and I was told they are looking for the attackers.

27 year-old Stojkovikj publicly came out on 20 June, stating: ‘For everyone of you that guessed, gossiped and insulted – it’s time to acknowledge your primitivity and limitation. I’m gay.’

He is also member of the Executive Board at the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia, an organization dedicated to fight for human rights and providing vital support for the country’s LGBT community.

Milenko Nedelkovski, a famous Macedonian journalist and TV presenter posted Stojkovikj’s picture on Facebook saying that Skopje has a new attraction ‘Petar the Faggot; An actor,’ with a link to the star’s coming out statement.

He also accused him of being an ‘anti-Macedonian activist’ and member of a ‘gay lobby’ in Brussels.

In another post he encourages violence and calls for gays to be eliminated, as they are ‘enemies of the country’.

Nedelkovski is just one of several leading pro-government journalists who have been systematically inciting hate and violence against Macedonia’s LGBT community.

Bekim Asani, one of the organizers of Skopje Pride Week, and member of LGBT United Macedonia organization, has been receiving death threats.

‘Bekim the Gypsi will be shot in his head,’ said one comment posted on the Facebook page of the organization (24 June).

Another member of the organization has also been receiving death threats, according to Bekim.

On Saturday (23 June), a mob threw bricks and stones at the building of Skopje’s LGBT Centre where members of LGBT United Macedonia were watching a film for the annual Pride celebrations, and wounded a policeman.

A warning was posted on LGBT United Macedonia’s Facebook page stating: ‘wait for a bomb in the next days.’

Bekim told Gay Star News: ‘I’ve received death threats and I’m scared and don’t know quite what to do, my personal details along with other LGBT Macedonians are being widely disseminated putting us at risk of anti-gay hate.

‘We’re asking Macedonia’s authorities to react and call for the hate campaign against LGBT people to stop,’ he said.

The Pride march planned for Saturday also had to be cancelled because Macedonia’s Ministry of Interior said it could not guaranteed marchers’ security.

Not a single official or politician has condemned any of these attack so far.

Stojkovikj told Gay Star News: ‘These public figures are spreading hate, comparing homosexuality to incest and making spreading false information.

‘Where is a statement from Macedonia’s president Gjorge Ivanov, or prime minister Nikola Gruevski? Where is their condemnation of the hate speech and crimes against Macdeonia’s LGBT community?

‘Everyone is entitled to equal protection against any discrimination or incitement to hate which violate of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.’

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and prominent human rights advocate warned that Macedonia must condemn and curb the anti-gay violence if the country is to become a member of the European Union.

Marije Cornelissen MEP, told Gay Star News: ‘I am appalled at the threats and violence against LGBT-activists in Macedonia, and very concerned about the activists involved who have gone into hiding.

‘I call on the Macedonian authorities to take immediate action to ensure their safety and to publicly condemn these incidents.

‘I expect a candidate EU member to uphold human rights for all citizens, as an important aspect of the accession process and will do all in my power to make sure this happens.’

She promised to GSN that she would pursue the matter with the Macedonian authorities.

Richard Howitt MEP also made a statement saying: ‘This targeted attack against the LGBT community in Skopje must be condemned in the strongest possible terms by all.’

Boris Dittrich, Advocacy Director of the LGBT program at Human Rights Watch told Gay Star News: ‘The government of Macedonia should publicly and unconditionally condemn the recent homophobic attacks on LGBT activists in Skopje.

‘The government should insist on a thorough investigation leading to the apprehension of the attackers and protect LGBT citizens from future violence.

‘The European Union should closely watch if the Macedonian government will show leadership on this issue.’

Veteran British human rights advocate, Peter Tatchell, also commented to GSN: ‘The attacks on the LGBT center and the death threats against key LGBT activists are outrageous.

‘Equally appalling is the lack of government condemnation and action to protect the LGBT community’, which amounts to ‘collusion with hatred and violence,’ he said.

‘Given that Macedonia is bidding to join the EU, the European Commission must issue an ultimatum to the government in Skopje: LGBT rights must be enshrined and enforced, otherwise Macedonia will not be granted EU membership.’

Last month the European Parliament adopted its annual report on Macedonia’s progress towards EU accession, and already highlighted unacceptable acts of violence.

by Dan Littauer
Source – Gay Star News