Macedonia: Hooded anti-gay vandals invade LGBT support centre in country’s capital

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Around 20 hooded vandals stormed the second birthday of an LGBT support centre on Thursday, throwing bottles and crates and leaving one girl injured.

Balkan Insight reports the incident took place at the Damar Cafe in Skopje’s Old Bazaar area.

Uranija Pirovska, director of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Macedonia, said: “The hooligans entered the cafe and started throwing everything, like bottles, crates.

“It was a stampedе. One girl was injured and was taken to the accident and emergency centre. She is fine, but still recovering,”

Witnesses said not see the faces of the assailants because they wore hoods.

“They were well organized. They had an exact plan of how to enter, what to demolish and when to leave, before the police came,” one witness said.

The centre has already twice been the target for anti-gay attacks.

Last year, attackers stormed the cafe while people were inside watching a movie.

The same year, attackers also vandalised the centre but without anyone inside.

The outgoing Dutch Ambassador, Marriët Schuurman, said in an interview that the failure to react on behalf of authorities “creates a perception that this is sponsored, or tolerated in the best case, by the government and used as an instrument to make people afraid and try to shut people up.”

She added: “I will meet representatives of the EU delegation in Skopje and with all the ambassadors. The attackers responsible for previous events were never found – and that means that the institutions tolerate violence.

“In Macedonia, the fundamental rights of the LGBT community have no value. Their right to live is endangered.”

MEPs expressed concern over an increase in homophobic incidents in Macedonia in October 2012.

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