September 24, 2008 / 10:11 PM / 11 years ago

Young men attack gay festival in Bosnia

SARAJEVO, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Bosnian police clashed on Wednesday with young men attacking the country’s first gay festival in Sarajevo.

Police said at least eight people were injured when attackers dragged some people from vehicles and beat others in the street. A policeman was also injured.

Sarajevo hospital said six people were admitted with head wounds and that a Danish visitor was the most seriously hurt.

Officers pushed dozens of young men away from the Academy of Fine Arts where about the same number of visitors attended the opening of the four-day Queer Festival.

Islamic media campaigned this month against the organisation of the festival during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and anonymous death threats were made against its organisers and media that supported it.

Organisers said the timing of the indoor festival of art, film and workshops about sexual minorities was coincidental.

In Bosnia, as in most countries in the Balkans, there is zero tolerance for homosexuals.

The young men, with hoods hiding their faces and some with long beards, yelled offensive words and also Allahu akbar (God is Greatest). Police said one attacker was detained.

Sarajevo, known for centuries for the peaceful coexistence of its Muslims, Christians and Jews, became a majority Muslim city after the 1992-95 war. (Reporting by Maja Zuvela; writing by Daria Sito-Sucic; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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