Bulgarian far-Right leader condemns British ambassador for supporting gay pride
Updated on: 19.06.2009, 01:04
Published on: 19.06.2009, 00:59
Steve Williams, the ambassador to Bulgaria, sent a message of support for a Rainbow Friendship Rally in Sofia this coming Sunday. The same event last year in the Bulgarian capital ended in a bloody riot as marchers clashed with nationalists and riot police.
"Celebrating diversity is not about promoting a lifestyle," he wrote. "It is about promoting respect for fundamental human rights. It is about the very essence of our European democratic values."
A far-Right political leader condemned the embassy's interference in a controversial domestic issue and issued a personal attack on Mr Williams, who is married with three children.
"He should mind his own business and his country's business," said Bojan Rasate, the leader of the Guardia Bulgarian National Alliance.
"He has no right to tell Bulgarians how to live in Bulgaria. Europe has been ruled by homosexuals for a long time. We do not care how they live, but we do not want them to impose their pervert values on us."
Ric Todd, the British ambassador to Poland, stirred similar criticism last week after publicly backing a rally in. The country's civil rights ombudsman warned the ambassador that he had "exceeded his authority".
A Foreign Office spokesman said the government regarded the messages as a key plank of its human rights policies.
"We have had the policy for some time," she said. "What's new is the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender [LGBT] Toolkit, which has raised the profile of such activities a bit."
In the wake of the Polish row, rights groups put pressure on David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, to maintain the approach.
"We cannot be complacent about LGBT rights in Europe and elsewhere in the world," said Kate Allen, Amnesty's UK director. 'This year we have seen attempts to ban Baltic Pride in Riga, the banning of Slavic Pride and violence when that march went ahead, and the banning of LGBT people holding public events as part of a 'Rainbow Spring 2009' in Ukraine."
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