Estonian gay activist shocked at pride violence

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The organiser of last weekend’s gay pride march in Tallinn has expressed shock at violence from groups of skinheads, claiming he thought Estonia was more tolerant compared to other Eastern European countries.

Around 15 people were injured in the capital city after being attacked with sticks and stones while celebrating the country’s third gay pride event.

Lisette Kampus, spokesman for the group coordinating the event, said this was the first known homophobic attack in a country which he thought was more tolerant.

He explained how the violence unfolded in an interview with GayRussia, “We saw some skinheads gathering next to the route. We also noticed that there was too little police on display. In the half way of the march, when we were close to the Parliament House, about 30 young skinheads attacked the parade. They were around 20 to 25 years old, and for sure, were Estonians. It’s certainly those who call themselves “Estonian nationalists”. They are very ultra and they belong to the very radical right wing.

“They attacked the middle of the march and first, the women. They had stones and wooden sticks. Before, they threw eggs on the parade. This is one of the most important things: young Estonian men attacking young Estonian woman. It is completely shocking for us. There are no words. It is something extremely shameful. Then, they went to everybody around: men and women.

“We continued the parade after the attacks. We terminated the march in the street where we always end the pride for three years. But after the pride, we still saw groups of skinheads around the bars. They were obviously looking for more fights but fortunately nothing happened. Several parties took place after the parade but nothing wrong happened.

“This is the first attack to happen ever. There had never been anything like this before. We are in really deep shock. We consider ourselves to be close to Nordic countries in terms of tolerance but I think police was a bit too optimistic.”

Last month in neighbouring Latvia, gay campaigners were attacked with eggs and bags of excrement and left feeling under siege by protesters as they aimed to quietly celebrate Riga Pride.

Recent pride marches in Moscow, Bucharest and Warsaw have also been met with protest from similar groups.

The European Union recently passed a resolution to combat homophobia on the continent.