Albanian government promises to protect LGBT pride event from violence

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Gay rights organizations in Albania say they have been assured their annual pride event will not be hindered on the day when the opposition also has planned a national protest.

The organizations on Monday said opposition Democratic party leader Lulzim Basha assured them there would be “no incidents or threat” during their bike ride in Tirana Saturday. They will start two hours before the opposition’s rally.

The gay rights groups plan to ride past a tent pitched in February by the opposition in front of Prime Minister Edi Rama’s office to block the boulevard. The opposition claims Rama will manipulate the vote in next month’s elections.

Albania passed an anti-discrimination law in 2009 that does not allow same-sex weddings. There is still widespread homophobia, but no aggressive behavior against gays has been reported so far.

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