EU denounces official over gay slur
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The European Union on Tuesday denounced an Albanian official who said participants in a planned gay pride parade “should be beaten with truncheons.”
“The European Union strongly condemns any discriminatory rhetoric as well as any incitement to hatred or violence,” the EU delegation in Tirana said in a statement.
The EU statement came after Albania's deputy defence minister and leader of the royalist party, Ekrem Spahiu, slammed a plan by gay organisations to hold their first-ever pride parade on May 17.
“My only commentary on this gay parade is that they should be beaten with truncheons,” he said last week.
Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha said he backed the planned parade in Tirana as “Albania is a country where all freedoms are guaranteed.”
On Sunday Albanian Muslim and Catholic organisations voiced strong opposition to the parade, insisting that gay rights events threatened society.
Human rights organisations say gays face both discrimination and violence in Albania, a society where many are regarded as deeply homophobic.
Albania passed a law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in 2010. - AFP