Bulgaria urged to condemn gay pride stoning threat

Human Rights Watch call for Bulgarian government to denounce priest's calls to 'throw stones' and pride parade marchers

Bulgaria urged to condemn gay pride stoning threat
27 June 2012

Activists are urging the Bulgarian government to denounce a priest’s calls for gay pride marchers in Sofia to be stoned.

In a letter to Justice Minister Diana Kovacheva, Human Rights Watch called for the cleric’s incitement to hatred and violence to be publicly condemned.

In an interview with the Bulgarian Standard on 6 June, Father Evgeniy Yanakiev said ‘stones should be thrown’ at participants during the event in the Bulgarian capital on 30 June.

‘The call to stone gay people is a heinous threat to the security of peaceful people who want to use their freedom of assembly,’ said Boris Dittrich, advocacy director of the LGBT Rights Program at Human Rights Watch.

‘It is incitement to hatred and violence and should be condemned by the justice minister in the clearest terms and in the most public way possible.’

Campaigners have also urged the Holy Synod, the highest authority in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, to denounce Father Yanakiev’s statements.

But in a statement on 13 June, the church branded the pride parade as ‘immoral’ and homosexuality ‘an unnatural passion that undoubtedly harms the personality, the family and the society’.

The church also warned parents and teachers to stop children from taking part in the event, claiming it was a ‘harmful demonstration that violates the rights of Orthodox Christians’.

Dittrich says the church’s response leaves LGBT pride marchers ‘out in the cold’.

He added: ‘This makes it all the more imperative for state authorities to support unequivocally the right of the LGBT community to freely and safely exercise their rights to assembly and expression.’

In the letter to Justice Minister Kovacheva, Human Rights Watch wrote that as a member of the Council of Europe, it is the responsibility of the Bulgarian government to protect LGBT people from violence and from hate speech that might lead to violence.

In 2008, right-wing extremist groups and football hooligans violently attacked participants in the first LGBT Pride in Bulgaria.

And last year, unidentified thugs attacked and beat three volunteers from the Sofia Pride Parade.

The police have yet to announce any progress in the investigation into these attacks.



No thumbnail available

Soap star who plays gay role on Days of Our Lives pleads guilty in real-life drama

Freddie Smith to be sentenced in February for  felony vehicular assault and misdemeanor driving under the influence
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Uganda to deport British gay play producer

David Cecil is currently detained and could be forced to leave his Ugandan wife and child
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Parents start petition of protest over English primary school's new gender-neutral toilets

A Primary School in the English town of Newhaven has introduced ‘gender neutral’ toilets for pupils in an effort to tackle transphobia
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Republican representative charges Obama will attack Christians with hate crime laws

At rally, Representative Louie Gohmert claims Christians who oppose marriage equality will face hate crime charges
No thumbnail available

Experience the stunning scenery and outdoors appeal of Narvik in Norway

The perfect place to begin your northern Norwegian adventure.
No thumbnail available

Man accused of killing gay lover in crystal meth S&M extreme sex session

WARNING: Graphic details. Newcastle Crown Court hears how a former government vet indulged in 'inflicting pain on others' in sex session that allegedly went too far
No thumbnail available

Gay marriage bill still on track despite fight in UK parliament

British MPs have rejected amendments that would have watered down or delayed gay marriage proposals