March “LGBT for Traditional Values” successfully occurred in Moldova
Today, 19 May, for the first time in the history of Moldovan LGBT movement an LGBT rally and march took place during the Pride Festival “Rainbow over the Dniester”. About 100 persons participated in the event titled “LGBT for Traditional Values”, including GENDERDOC-M staff members and volunteers, the Dutch Member of EU Parliament Marije Cornelissen, representatives of Moldovan civil society, Embassies of Sweden, United States, United Kingdom, Italy and others, OSCE Mission to Moldova, Council of Europe, EU Delegation to Moldova, various departments of UN Office in Moldova, friends and allies of LGBT people.
Thanks to the well-coordinated and professional actions by several hundreds of police officers who ensured the public order and security for march participants, the event was a success however shorter than planned due to the threats from counter demonstrators who became aware of the march location. Nobody was hurt during or after the march, although there were attempts by several nationalists to disrupt the course of the demonstration. Meanwhile, slightly more than a thousand of religious counter protesters gathered in the city centre to collectively pray against the march and the anti-discrimination legislation.
GENDERDOC-M representatives gave up the idea of organizing the march in the city center as it was planned before but held it in a different location. Yesterday, a court in Chişinău issued a judgment to relocate the demonstration from the city centre to a secluded area – the Summer Theatre in one of the city parks – following the claim by the mayor of Chişinău. Nevertheless, the organizers intended to obey the judgment fully. However, later that day, they had a meeting with representatives of the police who warned the activists about possible difficulties in ensuring security which might have occurred in the Summer Theatre.
That’s why organizers decided to gather in front of the U.S. Embassy in Moldova, begin the march and move towards the Summer Theatre meanwhile paying attention to the fast-changing developments. Organizers were ready to conclude the march at any point if threats to participants’ security and lives became imminent. Thus, all participants who advocate for equality of LGBT people’s rights gathered in front of the U.S. Embassy in Moldova where an official rally was held.
Then they moved towards the State University, made a stop on the halfway through where they had a high level surprise guest, Štefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy. “Tolerance is one of the most essential values for the society to stick together […] It’s about the commitment to the European values in a sense of adopting them not only on paper but also creating the conditions for those commitments and values to be implemented each and every day. I am talking, of course, about the anti-discrimination law”, stated the high EU official in his short intervention.
Alexei Marcicov, Chairman of GENDERDOC-M Board: “For many years we have fought for the respect of the right to freedom of assembly for LGBT people. And finally, today we have obtained this respect. The proof is the protection by the police who are ensuring security for the Pride march participants today.”
Marije Cornelissen, Dutch Member of EU Parliament: “Today’s march is one more step towards the direction of positive change. The open-minded, tolerant and progressive people are those who Moldova needs. Today I can see them here. ”
Sanja Juras, Croatian member of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board: “When we organized the first Pride in Zagreb and when we organized the first Pride in Split, they said it’s too early. But we say it’s never too early for human rights […] I congratulate you once more I hope to be here next year to the big LGBT Pride here. I also congratulate the Republic of Moldova for respect of freedom of assembly and the police that is protecting us.”