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Gay football fans warned to keep low profile at Euro 2012

Gay football fans warned to keep low profile at Euro 2012

Gay football fans have been warned to keep a low profile when travelling to the Ukraine for Euro 2012.

Amnesty International has given the advice saying conditions for gay people in the Eastern European country have deteriorated.

The capital’s first ever gay pride parade was cancelled on Sunday (20 May) after fears of violence from far-right thugs.

Footage shows Svyatoslav Sheremet, head of the Gay Forum of Ukraine, being kicked and jumped on by a group of men after the event was stopped.

Amnesty International campaigner Max Tucker said: ‘Gay football fans will have extremely good reason to be concerned.

‘Not only will they have to deal with violent football hooligans who deliberately target gay people and people of ethnic minorities, they will also face an extremely corrupt police force who have a track record of beating and mistreating people because of their sexual orientation.’

He added: ‘I would advise any gay football supporters going to the Ukraine to go there with extreme caution and be on the lookout for both the police and hooligans and try to keep as low a profile as possible.’

Ashley Walcott, brother of black England midfielder Theo Walcott, tweeted to say he will not be attending Euro 2012 out of fear of ‘possible racist attacks’.

He said: ‘Unfortunately my dad n i have taken the decision not to travel to the Ukraine because of the fear of possible racist attacks confrontations.

‘Somethings aren’t worth risking, but begs the question why hold a competition of this magnitude in a place that can not police itself for foreigners of any creed to feel safe, but I’ll be watching every minute.’

Hundreds of thousands of people will fly out to Ukraine for Euro 2012, which begins on 8 June.