Danish man sought embassy protection after Sarajevo violence

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One of the people injured when a homophobic mob attacked the opening event of Bosnia’s first gay festival has spoken of his ordeal.

Andrejs Visockis is a Danish national.

He is one of eight people injured on Thursday night when a gang of 70 men threw stones and shouted homophobic slogans at people arriving for an event at a Sarajevo art gallery.

The mob reformed as the event ended and beat some participants. Two journalists were caught up in the attacks.

Mr Visockis said that a Bosnian newspaper that had previously printed homophobic articles objecting to the gay festival has now published the full name and date of birth of people who were taken to hospital after the attacks.

“That can only be interpreted as ‘go and get them,’ since they never do that otherwise,” Mr. Visockis said in an email to UK Gay News.

“During my last night in Sarajevo [Friday night], I felt compelled to contact the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ask for protection.

“We were staying in the Organisation Q (festival organiser’s) office and didn’t dare to leave since several people were followed in cars after leaving that place.

“After the Danish ambassador intervened personally, a police car was dispatched to the area where it presumably stayed all night.

“Yesterday [Saturday], I decided that enough was enough and asked to be flown to Zagreb.

“With some protection I was driven to my hotel where I grabbed my belongings and then to the airport. Since then I’m in safety – which definitely can’t be said about the local organisers.”

Posters appeared on the streets of Sarajevo earlier this month proclaiming “Death To Gays” and imams have spoken out against the festival, claiming that homosexuality is immoral and contrary to the Koran.

MEPs have criticised the violence in Bosnia and reminded the country that respect for LGBT rights is a requirement of countries seeking EU membership.