100s of police deploy for gay march

2012-06-09 17:00

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Split - Hundreds of riot police are securing a gay pride event in the Croatian town of Split because of threats of violence from extremists.

Several hundred people, including some government ministers, have gathered for the march, carrying flags and banners reading "Gay is OK" and "We are all equal."

The crowd is heading along a route that was fenced off by the police to protect participants. A helicopter has been flying over the gathering and a police water cannon is parked nearby.

Croatian authorities have pledged to secure the pride event as a sign of determination to protect gay and other human rights ahead of joining the European Union in 2013.

Last year, extremists threw bottles and rocks at participants, drawing international condemnation.

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