London Mayor Ken Livingstone has condemned Estonian leaders for failing to protect gays and lesbians during the recent violence that occurred at a Gay Pride parade there earlier this month:
“The failure of the police and political authorities in Tallinn to protect lesbian and gay citizens from violence during this year’s peaceful Gay Pride parade is inexcusable. Having permitted the parade, and being aware of the potential for violence, Tallinn City Council and the city’s police should have taken all reasonable steps to robustly defend the fundamental human rights of those taking part. I also deplore the violence at Gay Pride events this year in Latvia, Poland, Russia, Moldova and Romania and the encouragement given to right wing extremists by religious and political leaders. I strongly endorse the European Parliament resolution of 18 January 2006 that lesbian and gay people should be protected from homophobic hate speech and violence and treated with ‘respect, dignity and protection.'”
Although we’re of course not part of the EU, it’s a shame that American officials rarely make this kind of gesture, or exhibit an awareness of hate and prejudice occurring places other than their own backyards. Or sometimes even in their own backyards for that matter.