Pride Parade organisers decry inactivity of authorities in face of violence
The organisers of the annual Pride Parade in Ljubljana have criticised police handling of reports of violence against the LGBTIQ+ community and tepid government response after what they described as the worst hostility against the community in years.
The participants of the parade were targets of violence and assaults. "Homophobes took it out on the rainbow flags they had snatched from their bearers, burned them and published videos on social media," the Pride Parade Association's head Simona Muršec said on 21 June.
LGBTIQ+ organisations received many reports of violence that happened before, during and after the parade. In many cases the persons who had been intimidated had turned to police, who did not offer them protection or ID the perpetrators, she said.
Muršec claims that police officers urged LGBTIQ+ persons not to file reports, telling them that "that's just how it is".
The police must actively prevent violence, consistently prosecute perpetrators and provide support for all victims of violence in filing reports. "It is unacceptable for police officers to be photographed with perpetrators of violent acts," she said.
Except for President Nataša Pirc Musar and National Assembly President Urška Klakočar Zupančič, senior officials have not systematically condemned the violence, according to her.
The LGBTIQ+ community had waited for Prime Minister Robert Golob to strongly condemn the violence for three days only to receive a general statement that additional efforts should be invested in encouraging tolerance and ensuring safety, she said.
The prime minister's office responded with a statement saying that the "government strongly condemns the physical and verbal attacks on the participants of the parade and the intimidation they experienced. We are sure that the competent authorities will take appropriate action."
The Ljubljana Police Department rejected the allegations as well, saying that the police officers who had provided security at the parade had prevented any criminal behaviour to the greatest possible extent and with zero tolerance.
"It is not true that the police did not act on the reported criminal acts, and no one was discouraged from filing reports. On the contrary, we urge anyone who has any information about criminal acts to notify the police," it said.
The statements come after multiple participants reported acts of violence against the participants of the parade. At least one woman was physically assaulted and on the eve of the parade and unknown perpetrator broke a window with a rainbow flag in Pritličje, a popular venue right next to Town Hall that is owned by a prominent LGBTIQ+ rights activist.