Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Sunday 13 August 2006

Gay Pride parade attacks in new EU member states

About 15 participants in a gay pride parade in Tallinn, Estonia were injured when they were attacked by protesters, several of whom were reportedly arrested by police.

At least in Estonia the police were acting to protect the right of citizens to assemble peacefully, whereas last month in neigbouring Latvia the police simply looked on and did nothing to halt attacks on gays taking part in a pride parade in Riga. The pride parade itself had been banned by the city authorities citing guidance from the Latvian Interior Minister Dzintars Jaundzeikars and despite Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga vetoing a measure stripping sexuality from its non-discrimination law and stating that it was unacceptable for the Riga City Council to refuse the parade permit.

Estonia and Latvia are not the only new EU Member States which allow or practise discrimination against gays and Poland has come in for harsh criticism from the European Parliament, criticism which has been roundly rejected by Polish Prime minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz::

"I know Poland a bit better than the European parliament does, and I have not encountered such behavior."

- he can't have looked very hard!

Poland, Latvia and any other EU Member State which think they can discriminate against gays or other minorities in their midst must be reminded forcefully, and repeatedly, of their obligations. If necessary consideration should be given to delaying payments from EU budgets to such countries until they comply. I see no reason why I, a citizen of a country which is a large net contributor to the EU budget and who himself pays a significant amount of tax, should help to support EU Member States which do not treat all their citizens equally and fail to protect them from anti-democratic elements in their midst.

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