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21st Jun 2018

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Lesbian MEP victim of acid attack

A top EU deputy at the Vienna gay pride demonstration was the victim of an acid attack over the weekend.

Austrian Green MEP Ulrike Lunacek, along with a journalist who was interviewing her, were doused on Saturday with what is said to be butyric acid, a toxic but non-lethal substance.

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  • Lunacek says she will not be deterred by the attack (Photo: European Union 2014)

“Nobody got hurt, it was just a horrible stench that got in our clothes and hair and skin but it was definitely against me and the journalist interviewing me,” Lunacek, a former vice-president of the Greens/EFA group, told this website on Tuesday (17 June).

The MEP says the attack has doubled her efforts against homophobia and discrimination.

“My commitment to the fight for equal rights will not be stopped by that, on the contrary: this struggle will also be a very important part of my next period in the parliament,” she said.

“The police are looking for someone who supposedly already before had been attacking with the same kind of acid some animal rights activists use, so maybe they will get a hold on him and bring him to court,” she said.

It is not the first time the MEP has been harassed for taking part in a gay pride. Stones were thrown at her at a gay pride in Bratislava. In Lithuania, it was eggs.

But Saturday’s attack was a first for the Vienna gay pride that has been held for 18 years and which was attended by 150,000 people.

Lunacek will be attending gay pride in the Slovak capital in two weeks time.

“For myself, I don’t see a serious and continuous threat. But it is irritating that this has happened at Vienna Pride which never has seen such a targeted attack," she said.

The MEP is the European Parliament’s lead negotiator for gay rights.

In January, she drafted the EU’s roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The European Parliament backed her report at the February plenary session.

The idea is to get the European Commission to draft legislation in order to ensure LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans] people are treated equally throughout the 28-member bloc.

“That is something that I demand, that the Greens demand, that I hope the parliament as a whole will demand from the next commission president,” she said.

The EU strategy would lay the legal groundwork, among other things, to ensure children in schools are better informed about gay rights, to train police to deal with homophobic attacks and victims, and to get member states to work together.

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Virulent nationalism in Greece has been stirred up in the context of austerity and renewed negotiations with Macedonia. Recent attempts by the government to address the inequalities suffered by LGBT persons have also been met with a reactionary backlash.

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