Hundreds of demonstrators in Prague call for end to violence against LGBTQ+ community

Friday evening's protest began at Prague's Rudolfinum and marched on to the Slovak Embassy.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 22.10.2022 09:32:00 (updated on 22.10.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague, Oct 21 (ČTK) - Hundreds of people, many of them members of the LGBTQ+ community, gathered in the center of Prague Friday evening to demand freedom and safety for all. Speakers called for changes in response to the Oct. 12 murder of two men at a gay bar in Bratislava.

Gay people face discrimination and misunderstanding every day, the event's speakers said.

"Let's change something together, let's loudly call for justice and fight for the freedom and safety of all queer people," the organizers of the protest wrote in a letter inviting the public to join the demonstration, called "Nebudeme Mlčet" (We won't be silent).

Protestors carried banners condemning hatred and hateful acts. Waving rainbow flags and lanterns, they set off from outside the Rudolfinum across the Vltava River to the Slovak embassy building northwest of the center of Prague.

The group of demonstrators lit candles and placed them among the candles already burning on the pavement outside the embassy.

Event speakers, including Slovaks, said that in many public places and venues gay people cannot ask the security staff for help and that the police downplay cases of attacks on LGBTQ+ citizens.

"I fear that what occurred [in Bratislava] last week may occur here as well. What do we have to do for you to start taking us seriously?" one female protestor asked.

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Another participant said that being different should not cost anyone their life.

"We face a systematic effort to erase us from the public space," another speaker said quoting Roman Samotný, the owner of the Tepláreň bar, where the tragedy occurred, who spoke at a demonstration last Sunday in Bratislava.

At the close of the two-hour demonstration at 8 p.m. the organizers said the power rests within the community. They said they were not parting in sadness, which opens the door to hopelessness but trying to open a door to joy and love.

Slovak police are investigating the Oct.12 shooting at the Tepláreň bar gay bar in Bratislava, in which a 19-year-old shooter killed two men, aged 23 and 26, and wounded a 28-year-old woman, as a terrorist attack.

The shooter escaped from the scene of the murder and later committed suicide. Prior to the fatal shooting, he posted a manifest against LGBTQ+ people and Jews on social networks. The police say the perpetrator made the attack after his originally planned attack on Slovak PM Eduard Heger failed.

In reaction to the homophobic murder, the European Parliament called on EU member states on Thursday to fight against displays of hatred and investigate and prosecute hate crimes targeting sexual minorities.

On Wednesday, an opposition-proposed bill enhancing the property and other rights of LGBTQ+ partners was rejected by the Slovak parliament.

Another protest to promote greater security for LGBTQ+ people is planned for Wednesday, Oct. 26 from 6 p.m. at Prague's Wenceslas Square. The demonstration was announced earlier this week as part of the "Together Against Hate" (“Společně proti nenávisti”) movement addressed to the Czech government and parliament.

The call informs Czech politicians that LGBTQ+ people and their families in Czechia are fearful and worried for their safety. The online petition was established earlier this week by Prague Pride, Jsem Fer, and other organizations.

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