Chisinau, May 22, Interfax - Representatives of the Orthodox Church have prevented sexual minorities from marching down the planned itinerary through central Chisinau.
The religious believers blocked the street in front of the marchers. Police bussed them away, an Interfax correspondent reported from the scene.
The march by the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community took place in the Moldovan capital last Sunday, in Bucharest Street (one of the main ones in Chisinau) between Ismail Street and the Palace of the Republic, about two kilometers.
The march involved several hundred participants, including LGBT activists from Gender-doc, a nongovernmental organization, civil society representatives, politicians and journalists. They were joined by staff from the embassies of several western countries.
The march took place without rainbow flags, slogans and placards in support of sexual minorities. It was aimed against discrimination in general, the organizers said. The marchers came with flowers, all of them wearing white T-shirts, with the words No fear written on the front and There is no fear underneath this T-shirt on the back.
Traffic in Bucharest Street was closed. The police walked in a dense cordon in front of the marchers. There were also police on both sides of the column. A few police buses followed behind.
However, after walking only a few hundred meters - less than half of the planned route - the marchers were confronted by several hundred representatives of the church who blocked the street.
The believers went out with processional banners, Orthodox song-singing and placards. The placards said: Moldova is an Orthodox country!, Family is Mother, Father and me! and other slogans in defense of the traditional family.
The police promptly intervened, preventing clashes between demonstrators and their opponents. Several hundred police officers in helmets and protective gear formed a dense cordon separating the two groups.
A few minutes later it was decided to discontinue the march. The marchers were put on buses prepared by the police beforehand.
The buses and the police had been accompanying the marchers from the very start. The police evacuated the marchers. The Orthodox believers left.
A day earlier Moldovan President Igor Dodon criticized the events being held by sexual minorities as part of the 16th LGBT festival Moldova Pride 2017. Dodon said that he categorically denounced both the festival and the march.
When told by a journalist that one of his campaign promises was to be a president for everyone, Dodon said that he "did not promise to be a president of gays."
The president himself, along with his wife and three sons, will attend events to support and promote traditional family values, which are taking place in the central square of Chisinau.