Thousands March for Gay Rights in Croatia

Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Reposted from Balkan Insight:

More than 10,000 people joined the Zagreb Pride parade through the centre of the Croatian capital to support gays and lesbians in their struggle for the legal right to marriage.

The 12th Zagreb Pride on Saturday was the biggest so far, with many politicians, actors and celebrities joining the marchers in the capital.

Foreign minister Vesna Pusic, a liberal who has supported gay and lesbian rights for years, took part as she has done in the past.

Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic's wife Sanja Music Milanovic joined the parade too, telling journalists that she was “provoked” to attend by a current right-wing campaign for a referendum to constitutionally define marriage as a “lifelong union of a woman and a man”.

Police ensured security for the marchers and the parade passed off peacefully.

The organisers emphasised that the event was dedicated to all minorities, not only to gays and lesbians.

“This is a land for every one of us. Zagreb Pride doesn't exclude anybody, because we are just humans to each other,” they stated.

During the event, musician Mile Kekin, front man of the veteran Croatian alternative rock band Hladno Pivo (Cold Beer) was proclaimed the a “homofriend” of the year, while the archbishop of Zagreb, Josip Bozanic, was named the “homophobe” of the year.

“Bozanic divided people and called for the humiliation of one group,” Zagreb Pride organiser Marko Jurcic explained.

Zagreb Pride was held amid public divisions over the initiative to hold a referendum on marriage legislation intended as a move to rule out the possibility of legalising same-sex marriages.

More than 700,000 people signed a recent petition to change the constitution to define marriage as an exclusively heterosexual union.

However the large turnout on Saturday will encourage campaigners to keep on struggling for equal rights, the Zagreb Pride organisers said.

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