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Violence at Croatian Gay Pride March

Police said they arrested eight people on Saturday after violence marred a Gay Pride march through the centre of the Croatian capital Zagreb .

Organisers said more than 20 marchers had been the target of homophobic attacks. "Around 10 people were hurt, with two needing medical treatment," Marko Jurcic, one of the organisers, told AFP.

Italian senator Gianpaolo Silvestri was in one of the groups attacked, but was unhurt, Jurcic said.

Police said the eight arrests were for threatening behaviour towards the marchers.

"Five of them were carrying what appeared to be Molotov cocktails, but the contents of the bottles they were carrying has yet to be analysed," police spokesman Marina Burazer said.

Earlier, around 200 homosexuals braved the jeers of onlookers to take part in the annual Gay Pride march through Zagreb to back demands for gay rights.

The marchers were protected by almost as many police as they made their way through the city centre, jeered and taunted by around 20 youths.

The leaders of the city's gay and lesbian association said they faced rejection, discrimination, job dismissals and physical assault in Croatia, whose population of 4.4 million is nearly 90 percent Roman Catholic.

The Croatian parliament passed legislation giving limited recognition for same-sex unions in 2003.


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