The poster for the announcement of “Moto Festival 2015”, whose official and main sponsor is the City of Skopje, again contains homophobic symbol – a sign of the two men in sexual pose crossed over in red – as an index of ban, placed next to the ban for presence of Satanists (symbolically marked by 666) and carrying animals, weapons, knives and flammable materials.
The City say that the procedures for granting funds for non-governmental organizations takes into account the applications of the participants of the competitions to strictly comply with the criteria and the fundamental rights of all communities, minority and marginalized groups.
– This principle is observed in the case of “Night Wolves”, who applied with an affirmative project that doesn’t announce activities that are contrary to the criteria and guiding principles for the protection of human rights. Provided that some of the projects have a discriminatory character, City of Skopje dissociates from them and in the future will examine access to budget funds for organizations that do not comply with the criteria and principles – say representatives of the City of Skopje.
But the Coalition for Sexual and Health Rights of marginalized communities, which in its reaction strongly condemns bias spreading hate speech, homophobia and discrimination of the organizers of “Moto Fest” and the City of Skopje as the official and main sponsor of the event, say that the situation was same in 2010 and 2011.
“In these occasions, the Coalition reacted to the Ombudsman and the Commission for the Prevention and Protection against Discrimination, after which the Ombudsman warned the City of Skopje. Regardless that the City apologized to all citizens for the discriminatory messages and obliged to prevent future discrimination, this year we can conclude that the statement and the intentions of the City were insincere and hypocritical. It is clear that the organizers of this festival shows the complete absence of basic civilization and respect for human rights at all, but we think it is absolutely unacceptable for the City of Skopje, with money he collects from taxes of all of us, the citizens, to continue this homophobic and discriminatory practice,” reads the reaction of the Coalition.
They request the City of Skopje to immediately withdraw sponsorship of the festival and to apologize to all directly offended and discriminated citizens with such content. Additionally, they demand the City to take affirmative and direct actions to show its commitment to non-discrimination and respect and tolerance for LGBT citizens. Coalition calls for a public boycott of the festival and announces lawsuits and complaints against the organizers and against the City of Skopje.
They also received a reaction to the sponsorship of this event from Association for the Protection of Animals “Anima Mundi”. They say that every third citizen in Skopje has a pet or takes care of a pet, and they wonder why the City of Skopje supports events that discriminate animal lovers.
– The city of Skopje supports festivals and events which discriminate us with our money, and it’s scary – say representatives of “Anima Mundi”.