Albania minister: gays should be beaten

WiG

Albanian gay organizations this past week announced plans to hold the country’s first ever gay Pride parade in Tirana on May 17, a move immediately slammed by a government minister, according to AFP.

“May 17 will be a special day … the LGBT flag will be raised for the first time in Tirana,” Altin Hazizaj of the Pink Embassy organization said in a statement to the media.

But Albania’s deputy defense minister and the leader of the royalist party, Ekrem Spahiu, was quick to slam the plan. “My only commentary on this gay parade is that they should be beaten with truncheons,” he said, according to the French news agency.

Albania’s traditional patriarchal society is deeply homophobic, and human rights organizations say gays face violence and discrimination.

After Spahiu’s outburst Albanian gay organisations said they would take the minister to court.

“This is a call to violence, and we will ask through our lawyers that Spahiu be convicted, in accordance with Albanian law, to a prison sentence of up to five years,” Kristi Pinderi, spokesman for a gay anti-discrimination organization, said.

Albania passed a law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in 2010. The country legalized homosexual relations in 1995.

May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia.