The Albanian government should publicly reprimand Deputy Defense Minister Ekrem Spahiu for homophobic remarks and endorsing violence against people participating in a Gay Pride parade, Human Rights Watch said today. Asked what he thinks of plans to hold a Gay Pride parade in the capital, Tirana, Spahiu said the participants should be beaten.
“I am shocked that a high ranking government official is calling for violence against peaceful LGBT demonstrators,” said Boris Dittrich, advocacy director in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. “Government officials should be supporting plans to hold a Gay Pride parade, not making threats against the participants.”
On March 22, 2012, Spahiu told the Albanian newspaper Gazeta Shqiptarein response to a question about plans of the Albanian LGBT community to hold a Gay Pride parade on May 17, the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia:
“What remains to be done is to beat them up with a stick. If you don’t understand this, I can explain it: to beat them with a rubber stick.”