Italy: World-Wide Demonstrations Staged Against Fascism

Contact: USA: Sara Moore, IGLHRC Rome Conference Co-coordinator, sara@iglhrc.org (+1-415-255-8680);
Italy: Deborah Oakley-Malvin, WorldPrideRome@aol.com (+39.348.770.8439).

SAN FRANCISCO- At 11:00 o'clock this morning the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) gathered with World Pride supporters at the Consulate of Italy in San Francisco to deliver a letter of concern to the Consul General Sebastiano Salvatori. This action was in solidarity with world wide anti-fascist protests, principally highlighting the Italian government's denial of long-promised permits and grants to the World Pride celebration. Similar actions were held around the United States in Boston, New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, and around the world in three cities of South Africa, in Sydney, Australia, Managua, Nicaragua, and in numerous cities in Spain. The Italian organizers of World Pride are planning a larger protest in Rome on June 5. "Neo-fascism as a new force in Western Europe must be checked, no matter what the Italian governments feelings are about the World Pride event," said Sara Moore, a co-coordinator for the IGLHRC conference on religion and homophobia to be held at World Pride.

The letter to the Consul General called for his support not only for World Pride, but also for the regional Pride gathering in Catania, Italy. Most recently in a series of obstructions of Pride events by fascists, the Mayor of Catania, a member of the fascist party Forza Italia, has denied the permit to that city's Pride Parade, scheduled to be held June 28.

Organizers of World Pride, an LGBT festival scheduled to be held in Rome from July 1-9, 2000, continue to face a mounting campaign to close the event down. The Catholic Church and Italy's powerful new fascist movement are increasing pressure on Italian authorities to deny permits and funding for the event.

The protestors' letter also called for the Italian government to support continued sanctions against Austria, sanctions which are now being reconsidered by the European Commission. The rise of fascism in Austria is evidenced by that country's recent imprisonment of eleven gay men under Article 209, an archaic law placing the age of consent for non-heterosexuals much higher than for heterosexuals. The protestors urge people to send letters to Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission, supporting Austrian sanctions until the repeal of 209, the release of the eleven imprisoned men, and the departure of fascist parties from the government.

Information about the conference "The Separation of Faith and Hate: Sexual Diversity, Religious Intolerance, and Strategies for Change" and other work IGLHRC is doing around World Pride Roma 2000 can be found at www.iglhrc.org. To register, send an inquiry to WorldPrideRome@aol.com with the Subject line "_Religion conference registration_", or inquire by fax at +39 6 5413971.

Information about other World Pride events can be found at http://www.worldpride2000.com/english/fcronology.htm. General inquiries about World Pride can be directed to info@mariomieli.it.

Information about the campaign against 209 in Austria can be found at www.hosiwien.at.

IGLHRC's mission is to protect and advance the human rights of all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status.