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Please Protect Us, Serbian Gays Plead: Death Threats, Attacks Faced as Facebook Fails to Remove Two Hate Groups
NOTE: The two “gay hate” groups mentioned here have now been removed by Facebook - added December 27 at 18:00. Click HERE for report.
BELGRADE, December 25, 2008 – Please protect us. That is the plea tonight from gays and lesbian in Serbia to their government, the police and the wider world this holiday season.
The staff and contributors of the Serbian gay and lesbian website Querria Centre, are constantly receiving death threats and threats of physical violence, it emerged this evening.
“Every day threats are being sent to the website’s official email address to the effect that the website is going to be hacked, that we are sick people who should be treated, that all of us (LGBT population) should be killed,” said Predrag Azdejković, the editor of Queeria and one of the main targets.
“Such threats are also posted among the comments made on the website.”
Two anti-Queeria groups have been formed on the Facebook website. One is called “Queeria, Pederi Marš iz Srbije” (Queeria, queers get out of Serbia) and has 406 members – it was created a month ago by Darko Ilic. (see screenshot below)
Both are “open groups”.
Members of both groups are publicly advocating death threats to the activists at Queeria, whose photographs, Queeria say, are circulating among the members of both groups.
Additionally, the groups are advocating breaking and entering the Queeria Centre premises, as well as the homes of gay activists.
The groups suggest violence against all gays and lesbians population.
“Although these groups have been reported to Facebook’s administrators and an official letter has been sent to Facebook, the two groups remain online,” Predrag Azdejković said. [the two Facebook pages were “live” at 22:45 UTC today).
A week ago, posters were put up in the centre of Belgrade by the nationalist group, Naši (Ours), that said:
“While Serbs are being laid off, look who is being financed by Boris Tadić [the Serbian president] and the government of Serbia. The Serbian Ministry of Culture, within its remit for projects in the field of public information, has recently granted 256,500.00 dinars for the website of a faggots organization - Queeria Centre - which is promoting faggots’ rights and slandering the Serbian Orthodox Church in the most despicable way. Is this what the democrats had been promising before the elections? The association Naši.”.
The “Queeria Centre" activists are also a regular subject matter of the Nazi Stormfront website, within topics such as “Predrag Azdejković – queer freak”, “Queeria supports LDP”, and “Even dirtier Jewish GAY propaganda”, in which participants incite to physical violence and killing.
“You can also find threats to the Queeria Centre activists on other nationalistic message boards and blogs,” said Mr. Azdejković.
“The Queeria Centre is asking the general public in Serbia and abroad, and especially the authorities in this country, to do their utmost to protect the activists of gay and lesbian rights groups in Serbia.”
“We remind everyone that Mladen Obradović, the president of the nationalist organization Obraz, publicly threatened the gay and lesbian population, and incited to violence during the Eurovision Song Contest.
“The police and the Public Attorney showed no reaction.
“It is our opinion that by keeping silent the national authorities of the Republic of Serbia support violence against the gay and lesbian population and activists of gay and lesbian rights groups, and thus provide homophobic forces in this country with an additional impetus,” he charged.
“We are asking national and international human rights NGOs to raise their voices in this case with similar vehemence like in cases when threats are directed to non-gay human rights activists.
“Although we are gay, we have equal rights like other citizens of this country and we deserve the same legal treatment and protection. Therefore – protect us!”
Serbia is a member of the Council of Europe and is an applicant to join the European Union.
■ Repeated attempts have been made by telephone to Facebook Inc. in Palo Alto, California, for comment on the company permitting the two hate groups and disregarding requests to have them removed. An email has been sent and any response will be posted when received.
Two Anti Gay Hate Groups in Serbia Zapped by Facebook. Two Serbian “gay hate groups” have been removed by Facebook. Two days ago, UK Gay News revealed that the two Facebook groups, “Queeria, Pederi Marš iz Srbije” and “СТОП ПЕДЕРИМА - КВИРИЈИ!” were posting death threats on Serbian gay men and women – and calling for other criminal activity. (UK Gay News, December 26, 2008)
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