Gays Attacked at Palestinian Protest
Newscenter, May 16, 2004
By Peter Moore, London Bureau
London—Members of two British gay
rights groups were attacked when they attempted to participate in a
demonstration for Palestinian rights.
OutRage and Queer Youth Alliance went to the protest
march at Trafalgar Square to show their support for people of Palestine. But
they also urged the Palestinian Authority to halt the arrest, torture and
murder of homosexuals.
As soon as they arrived at the square members of the two
groups were surrounded by an angry, screaming mob of Islamic fundamentalists,
Anglican clergymen, members of the Socialist Workers Party, the Stop the War
Coalition, and officials from the protest organizers, the Palestine Solidarity
They variously attacked the gay activists as
“racists”, “Zionists”, “CIA and MI5 agents”, “supporters of the
Sharon government” and accused the gays of “dividing the Free Palestine
PSC organisers asked the gay activists to “stand at the
back of the demonstration”, and when they refused blocked their placards
with their own banners and shouted down the gay campaigners as they tried to
speak to journalists and other protesters.
Most people at the Palestine protest expressed no
hostility towards OutRage! and the Queer Youth Alliance. Some expressed
In the end, the gay groups were allowed to march in the
demonstration. The two groups carried placards reading: “Israel: stop
persecuting Palestine! Palestine: stop persecuting queers!”
“We call on the PLO and Palestinian Authority to
condemn homophobia, uphold queer human rights, and to order an immediate end
to the abuse of lesbian and gay Palestinians”, said OutRage! protester,
“Having experienced the pain of homophobia, we deplore
the suffering inflicted on Palestinians by the Israeli government”.
Another protester, Peter Tatchell, said: “Gay
Palestinians live in fear of arrest, detention without trial, torture and
execution at the hands of Palestinian police and security services. They also
risk abduction and so-called honor killing by vengeful family members and
vigilante mobs, as well as punishment beatings and murder by Palestinian
political groups such as Hamas and Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement”.
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