Over 700 gendarmes will be deployed in the streets of the capital to maintain public order this weekend, for the gay pride parade and the counter-rallies “For normality”, according to the head of the Bucharest Gendarmerie, Gavrila Pop. Besides the demonstrations scheduled on Friday and Saturday, the gendarmes will also be in charge of security for the Dinamo-Universitatea Craiova match on Sunday evening.
Pop told a press conference that the gendarmes would be accompanied by police agents and special intervention teams. He underlined however that the authorities do not expect any high security risks. “We cannot speak of a high security risk, given that the marches will be held on Saturday, when traffic and activity in Bucharest are considerably lower. There were no threats. There is some sort of ‘folklore’ that appears on the Internet in these cases, but we take into consideration only what seems to be a serious threat,” he said. The events scheduled for this weekend will begin on Friday, at 5 p.m., with a March for the Family, organized by religious associations. On Saturday, the Diversity March or Gay Parade will be organised concurrently with the New Right counter rally. The Gay Parade will begin at 5 p.m. on Unirii Boulevard and participants will march to Constitution Square and Libertatii Boulevard, to Splaiul Independentei.
Organizers, Accept Association, expect over 500 people to take part in the rally. In previous years, the Gay Parade was marked by violence, as extremist right-wing and religious organizations assaulted the participants.
Last year, the Council of Europe voiced concern over violence directed against gay pride parade participants in several cities, including Bucharest, Budapest and Moscow.