Amnesty international has slammed Bosnian authorities as the first Sarajevo Queer Festival is called off following violent attacks on participants.
According to the organisers of the four-day event (the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender non-governmental organisation UdruÅ¾enje Q), police let anti-gay protestors get too close to the venue thus endangering the participants.
Eight people, policemen included, were reported to have been injured after dozens of young men attacked visitors to the festival of art and culture, which opened on 24 September in the Academy of Fine Arts in the centre of the capital, Sarajevo.
Reuters has reported that the festival organisers have decided to end the event prematurely, quoting organiser Svetlana Djurkovic as saying: “We cannot guarantee the safety of visitors. The festival is closing down.”
“The call of gay rights activists for equality before the law and an end to discrimination was met with intolerance and violence,” said Nicola Duckworth, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International.
Amnesty demanded that the authorities promptly and thoroughly investigate the attacks and bring those responsible to justice.
“Gay and lesbian people have the same rights as everybody else in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the authorities are obliged to guarantee their right to freedom of assembly and to freedom of expression,” Duckworth said.