Prague LGBTQ+ community to hold vigil at Slovak embassy following shooting

The shooting that happened yesterday outside a Bratislava bar left two men dead on the spot and a waitress injured. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 13.10.2022 11:59:00 (updated on 13.10.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

A vigil for victims of a possibly hate-motivated shooting at a gay café and bar in Bratislava is being held in the Czech capital Thursday.

The shooting, which took place at the LGBTQ+ café and bar Tepláreň in the center of Bratislava on Wednesday left two men dead on the spot and a waitress injured. The shooter was found dead by the police on Thursday morning.

Witnesses say they heard about ten shots in the incident. One of them told the television station Joj that the shooter was preparing a gun with a laser sight and was carefully aiming at the victims.

According to Slovak media reports, the shooter, who claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter, had previously released a manifesto against Jews and the LGBTQ+ community that called for violence against these groups.

Among the first to respond to the tragedy was activist Kryštof Stupka, a member of the government's Committee for Sexual Minorities and delegate of the Czech Republic to the United Nations.

“I feel angry and helpless. It's a huge tragedy. Expressions of hatred, whether from the mouth of politicians or on social networks, have their consequences," he told Czech website Refresher.

According to Stupka, equality should be a cornerstone of democracy, and politicians should show solidarity and clearly stand up for the defense of LGBTQ+ rights. "Homophobia kills," he added.

Stupka is organizing a candle-lighting ceremony in front of the Slovak embassy in Prague at noon on Thursday as a sign of solidarity. 

"I would appreciate it if you could join the minute of silence at 11:59 or take the time during the day to add your flags and candles," he tweeted.

Czech organization Jsme fér, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group has also publically responded to the shooting. 

"We are shocked by the news of the shooting in a gay bar near our neighbors and friends in Bratislava. We are thinking of the victims of the attack and their loved ones, regardless of the motive," the organization tweeted.

Speaker of the Czech Chamber of Deputies Markéta Pekarová Adamová tweeted: "Sincere condolences to the families of the shooting victims in the Bratislava LGBT bar. It hit me very hard. A society that encourages hatred, misinformation, racism, and xenophobia is easily radicalized and becomes dangerous for people's lives and health. Please be tolerant of differences."

Czech politicians, as well as Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová, have taken to social networks to express their horror at the attacks.

At the beginning of October, 44 members of the Slovak Parliament voted to ban the display of rainbow flags on state buildings, said Charles University political scientist Zora Hesová. 

"28 were against, 55 did not vote, 2 abstained, 21 were not present. The proposal did not pass, but 101 deputies out of 150 did not express their disapproval of the stigmatization of the minority," Hesová tweeted.

Prague-based journalist Ryan Keating-Lambert told that hate crime was "clearly on the rise - here in the Czech Republic too," despite the fact that "these spaces historically have been the one place we actually feel safe." Keating-Lambert added that he has "seen or heard about more hate crimes in the past couple of years than my entire combined 12 years of living here. It's definitely getting worse."

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