Pride Festival weekend Cologne mayor condemns homophobia and violence
Cologne · At the start of the CSD Pride weekend in Cologne, Mayor Henriette Reker (Independent) strongly condemned violence and hostility against homosexuals. "Whether Oslo or Istanbul - homophobia and transphobia are unacceptable - never and nowhere," Reker said Friday, according to a speech transcript.
Cologne should send out a message of acceptance and appreciation this weekend, she said. "With one of the largest Pride events in Europe, we are focusing on diversity as a strength and opportunity for our society."
In Oslo last weekend, an attacker fired shots outside a popular gay bar. Two people died and 21 were injured. In Istanbul at last Sunday's Pride parade, scores of people were arrested for demonstrating for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people.
"Whenever people are discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, their gender identity, their origin, their skin color, their religion or because of a physical or mental disability - that's when our civil courage and a strong, defiant stance are needed," Reker said.
A three-day Christopher Street Day (CSD) street festival began in Cologne on Friday with the theme "For human rights. Many. Together. Strong." There will be music and political discussions on three stages in the Altstadt (Old Town) of Cologne. The highlight of the weekend will be the CSD demonstration on Sunday. At least 800,000 spectators are expected.
(Orig. text: dpa / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)