Yesterday, activists held its first-ever “LGBT March of solidarity” in Moldova’s capitol of Chisinau. Moldova is a predominantly Orthodox Christian, east European country that’s also the poorest in Europe.
According to a media report relayed to Unicorn Booty by march attendee, Arnaud Gauthier-Fawas — European Coordinator of Proud Lebanon and International Relations coordinator at Inter-LGBT — the march was attended by between 300 to 400 people, both LGBT people and allies from Moldova and abroad.
The march lasted for 15 to 20 minutes (about five city blocks) before police gathered the marchers into three buses, a security arrangement that organizers knew about before the march. The buses then drove to a nearby hotel where the march organizers held a press conference.
You can see videos from the march below:
“My feeling today is that I’m both sad and proud,” Gauthier-Fawas told Unicorn Booty. “Sad because it stopped really fast, but at the same time really proud of all the work the organizers (have) done.”
He continued, “I’m really proud of them. They worked in very hostile environment. That’s why I came from Paris to support them — they are doing an amazing work!”
According to Gauthier-Fawas, the marchers only experienced three aggressive incidents: a religious group sang songs and threw holy water onto them, some person threw eggs at them from an upper-floor apartment and counter-protestors tried to block the march route. In all cases, Gauthier-Fawas says, the police responded calmly and dispersed the aggressors while encouraging marchers to walk quickly past the threats.
If you watch the videos above, you’ll see large numbers of police surrounding the marchers, protecting them from angry counter-protestors. The ending point of the March of Solidarity should have been the main square of the capitol – Piata Marii Adunari Nationale. But, in order to avoid violence, organizers changed the route.
During the post-march press conference, Anastasia Danilova, executive director of GENDERDOC-M said, “Today’s march was the longest in the history of LGBT people in Moldova, even though it only covered five districts… I am sure that even half of the people who came to protest against us do not know who (they) resist.”
Angela Frolov, program coordinator at GENDERDOC-M (an LGBT rights organization in Moldova) said, “After what we saw today, I can tell you that we have a police ‘without fear’… For us, at the time the security of people mattered more than the continuity of the action. Due to the police actions we have felt protected.”
She continued, “I can’t say anything about those who came to protest against us, it’s their right. This is our society and we live in it. We were accused that we destroy traditional families. We believe that the traditional family is a family where there is respect and dignity.”
You can watch a recorded live-stream of the march online.
The country’s first Pride march occurred in 2013. It too was cut short because of angry counter-protestors.