Amnesty condemns homophobia in New Europe as photo exhibition opens in Glasgow

Human rights campaigners today (15TH November) published information showing deep-rooted prejudice and intolerance towards LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) people across Eastern Europe.

As a new photographic exhibition opens in Glasgow’s Q! Gallery, Amnesty International reported that, in countries including Russia, Lithuania, Poland, Croatia and Estonia, participants in Pride events have faced threats and official hostility even before they march. They have been jeered at, spat at, and pummeled with bottles, eggs, excrement, and fists by protesters, sometimes while police look on. Some events are banned outright, in violation of international law, while authorities breach their obligations, claiming security concerns and the violation of what they perceive as spiritual and moral values.

The "Hate and Pride in Riga" exhibition features images from the May 2008 Pride March in Riga, the capital of the Baltic state of Latvia. Amnesty supporters from 30 countries travelled to Riga to support the local Mozaika ("Mosaic") alliance of LGBT people by marching with them through the streets of the city. Unlike in previous years the march was well protected by police although participants still suffered a torrent of abuse from anti-gay protesters and experience threats of losing jobs and other ongoing persecution,

Amnesty International’s Scottish Programme Director, John Watson, said:

"Pride marches in Scotland are now entirely good natured affairs, with generally good relations with the police and the host communities. It is therefore shocking to see the level of hate, intolerance and violence still existing elsewhere in Europe.

Amnesty International believes that love is a human right and we will continue to attend Riga Pride until local LGBT people are able to assemble without fear of violence."

The exhibition will be shown at the Q! Gallery on Glasgow’s Saltmarker until International Human Rights Day, 10th December.

Ends

For further information, or to arrange for photographs or interviews, contact John Watson on 07818 453 070 john.watson@amnesty.org.uk

Notes for Editors:

1) "Hate and Pride in Riga" will show until Wednesday 10th December at the Q! Gallery, 87 – 91 Saltmarket, Glasgow, G1 5LE. Monday-Friday, 11am to 5pm.

2) The Mozaika website is available in English translation - www.mozaika.lv

3) Images from the exhibition are available for reproduction.

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