Poland and Ukraine denounced British press allegations of racism and mob violence at soccer stadiums and assured foreign footballers and fans on Tuesday that they would be safe during the Euro 2012 tournament they will jointly host next month.
No word then on the homophobic attacks in front of the worlds press earlier this week.Gay rights activists were savagely beaten in the street by thugs after a cancelled Pride event. Footage shows Svyatoslav Sheremet, head of the Gay Forum of Ukraine, being kicked and jumped on by a group of men after the event was stopped. Two organisers were attacked and hospitalised and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office has since issued a warning to gay football supporters attending the Euros to beware of safety risks.
Meanwhile Stephen Fry added his Twitter might to the increasing controversy surrounding Ukraine’s human rights record amid fears for gay fans safety at the forthcoming European Football Championship…
Talking about the incident Stephen Tweeted: “Scapegoating innocent minorities…is nothing new. Now Ukraine tries a bit of Nazism.”
The Ukraine is also planning Law 8711, a draft bill that restricts freedom of expression for gay and lesbian people.
Fry’s remarks follow several warnings to football fans from non-profit campaign groups and public figures about fears for the safety of people from minority backgrounds planning to travel to Euro 2012…
Talking to the BBC Former England footballer Sol Campbell has warned fans to stay away from the Championship because they could “end up coming back in a coffin” whilst also questioning the choice of location for the Euros.
Amnesty International campaigner Max Tucker said: ‘Gay football fans will have extremely good reason to be concerned.
‘Not only will they have to deal with violent football hooligans who deliberately target gay people and people of ethnic minorities, they will also face an extremely corrupt police force who have a track record of beating and mistreating people because of their sexual orientation.’
He added: ‘I would advise any gay football supporters going to the Ukraine to go there with extreme caution and be on the lookout for both the police and hooligans and try to keep as low a profile as possible.’
Ashley Walcott, brother of black England midfielder Theo Walcott, tweeted to say he will not be attending Euro 2012 out of fear of ‘possible racist attacks’.
He said: ‘Unfortunately my dad n i have taken the decision not to travel to the Ukraine because of the fear of possible racist attacks confrontations.
‘Somethings aren’t worth risking, but begs the question why hold a competition of this magnitude in a place that can not police itself for foreigners of any creed to feel safe, but I’ll be watching every minute.’