‘Monstrous’ knife attack at Baltic Pride leaves man with broken bones in his face

Finnish pastor Patrick Tiainen

A knife attack on Baltic Pride participants in Tallinn, Estonia, which broke the bones in the face of one and injured two others, has been condemned by the country’s social protection minister as a “monstrous act”.

On the last day of Baltic Pride – an annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community in the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from 6 June to 11 June – Finnish pastor Patrick Tiainen and two others were attacked by a man with a knife.

The Estonian LGBT Association told PinkNews the attack happened at an event organised by the Association of Gay Christians at Bar X in the Estonian capital. 

“A hate crime motivated by religious affiliation and sexual orientation was committed, where a young man… attacked a Finnish pastor who spoke at the event, beating the victim with his fists and injuring him with a knife,” a spokesperson said.

The other two people were injured as they tried to protect Tiainen, and held the suspect until the police arrived.

A 25-year-old man has been arrested and an investigation has begun. 

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Writing on Facebook, Tiainen shared a photo of his injuries. 

He said he had just told attendees: “How sorry I am for all the pain caused to minorities in the name of God,” when the attacker entered. 

Tiainen claimed several bones in his face were broken in the attack, but added: “We will never let hate win.” 

Estonia’s minister of social protection, Signe Riisalo, and the Estonian LGBT Association have strongly condemned the attack. 

‘Monstrous act’ 

Riisalo told PinkNews that Baltic Pride saw 7,000 participants march on Saturday, and was intended to celebrate the openness of Estonian society.

He said the over-all joy of the event made the subsequent act of violence all the more shocking. 

“I sympathise with the victims and their relatives, as well as those who witnessed this monstrous act, to whom we are ready to offer all kinds of psychological support,” he continued.

“There is no justification for any kind of violence, and I wish that all instigators of hatred could also see the responsibility they bear in this act.” 

‘Public negative opinions are more violent today than ever’ 

Kristel Rannaääre, board member and training manager of the Estonian LGBT Association, told PinkNews: “We can think that the life of LGBT+ people in Estonia is rather good and safe. The survey by the Estonian Human Rights Centre clearly confirms that, since 2017, the opinion of Estonian people towards LGBT people has improved, but at the same time, public negative opinions are more violent today than ever before.

“Violent statements lead to real violent acts.”