Ljubljana Pride 2008 ends in violence

24/06/2008

Violent attack at Ljubljana Pride: Organisers appeal to public to sign petition condemning this aggression

The 8th Ljubljana Gay Pride took place on Saturday, June 21 2008, under the slogan "I feel Slovenia". With the slogan, we wanted to show that lesbian, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people in Slovenia do not feel Slovenia as emotional, compassionate, kind, loving and optimistic as depicted by the government. We often also feel discrimination, homophobia, violence, transphobia, biphobia, inequality and consequently silence and fear. The events which occurred after the official part of the pride which took place in Ljubljana on June 21st 2008 unfortunately confirmed this.

After the central event at Prešeren Square, and later on in the vicinity of K4 Club, five individuals were physically assaulted. The first incident happened in Tavčarjeva Street, immediately after the closing event at the Prešeren Square. Two guys pushed the victim against the car, and one blew a strike into his face. They were yelling "Fucking faggots!" during the attack, and ripped off the official Ljubljana Pride T-shirt. The second assault followed shortly afterwards at Ilirska street where three men ran down the street, yelling "He has that shirt. He's a faggot!" They knocked the second victim on the ground, kicked him in the head. They were shouting "Fucking faggot" as they ripped his T-shirt off. There were also two incidents which happened near the K4 Club, in the first one individual was attacked, and in the second, two people were assaulted. In the latter case, a group of younger men knocked a couple down They were kicking one of them so he started bleeding. They were shouting "Damned faggots," as they were kicking him.

Violent hate crimes over gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders are on the rise in the last years. We do not hear much about them, as the victims do not want to stress the homophobic element of the attack, and are afraid to publicise the attack. Gays and lesbians themselves are also not aware that they have to specifically point out that the violence is homophobic, so it is defined and also persecuted differently.

Therefore, we call upon Slovenian Police and Prosecutor General to investigate these homophobic attacks, find the perpetrators, and charge them. We are highlighting the severity of these attacks, since they are hate crimes. The message to the perpetrators depends on the outcomes of these and past cases. We have to let them know that such hate acts will absolutely not be tolerated, and will be severely persecuted and punished.

We call upon all institutions, the President of Slovenia Mr Danilo Türk, the Prime Minister of Slovenia Mr Janez Janša, the President of the National Assembly Mr France Cukjati, the Mayor of Ljubljana Mr Zoran Janković and others to publicly condemn the attacks.

We call upon everyone to take specific measures to prevent hatred and crime.

The first step can be signing the online petition against homophobic violence at:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/homofobija08/.

2008 Ljubljana Pride Parade Organization Committee

http://www.ljubljanapride.org

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