Catholic nationalists in Croatia are planning to petrol bomb a gay parade on Saturday in the city of Split.
Last year the 200-strong march was attacked by thousands of people and there were 13 injuries. 137 people were arrested.
A Facebook group protesting the parade has posted a picture of petrol bombs which it says are to be thrown at participants — which will include four cabinet members determined to prove that Croatia is a suitable candidate for the European Union (EU).
Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said
The eyes of the European Union will be focused on Split on Saturday … The gay population does not threaten anyone and we just have to accept them.
According to Reuters:
Several nationalist and war veteran groups have issued warnings against this year’s June 9 march in Split, calling it a “shameful provocation by sick people to which we will respond.”
Respect for human rights is a precondition for EU membership. The October 2011 European Commission Annual Progress report on Croatia stated that the government needed to do more to address homophobic and xenophobic sentiment in society.
Progress for LGBT rights in the Balkans has been two steps forward, one step back. Last year Belgrade stopped its gay pride march from going ahead after nationalists and Orthodox Christians threatened a repeat of the huge riots which surrounded the 2010 event.
No gay pride marches have ever been organized in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, or Kosovo, but one small one happened in Albania last month.
There has also been a trouble free Pride march in Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, since 2002.
Image via Facebook