CHISINAU, October 11 (RIA Novosti) – A group of Orthodox Christians blocked the entrance to parliament in Moldova on Friday in protest at proposed amendments that would soften the country’s anti-gay laws.
Protesters gathered outside the former Soviet nation’s parliament building in the morning in an attempt to prevent lawmakers from debating changes to anti-gay laws passed earlier this year.
Scuffles broke out when police tried to use force to disperse the protesters, and Communist Party lawmakers stepped in, forming a human shield between police and protesters.
“We won’t let anyone mock our people or our faith. We are all Christians here,” said Communist Party leader Vladimir Voronin.
Reports from the scene put the number of people outside the parliament building at between a few dozen and several hundred.
In May, the Moldovan parliament introduced a law banning the public promotion of activities that are harmful to minors, mirroring recent, highly controversial, anti-gay laws passed in Russia that have drawn an outcry from the gay rights community in Moldova and Europe.
The European Union is currently deepening its cooperation with the ex-Eastern bloc country and this process is built on an understanding of “shared values.” Moldova adopted anti-discrimination laws after a recent visa liberalization deal with the EU.
In June, the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission called the law “problematic.”
It said homosexuality was a variation of sexual orientation protected under the European Convention of Human Rights and “cannot be deemed contrary to morals by public authority.”