On Wednesday the 12th of October, in Bratislava, the country’s capital, two young men were shot dead in front of one of the only two gay bars in the city. This suspected hate crime is considered to be a terrorist attack against the LGBTQI+ community living in Slovakia. The act had been planned for a long time and was committed by a 19-year-old man who sympathised with neo-Nazi movements within Slovakia and abroad. Two days later, on Friday the 14th of October, thousands of people gathered at a vigil in the city to commemorate the two men and mourn their deaths. Slovakia’s president Zuzana Čaputová spoke at the event, telling mourners: “I’m sorry that our society was not able to protect your loved ones.” She also raised the rainbow flag over her office.
A few days after this horrific attack, a young LGBTQI+ couple in Bratislava was also attacked by a man sitting next to them in a restaurant, after which the restaurant owner asked the victims to leave without offering them any help. There have also been two other anti-LGBTQI+ incidents since then, including one in Nitra, one of the pilot cities taking place in the IN-HABIT project. A 19-year-old man was attacked for kissing his friend in the street in the evening, resulting in him needing jaw surgery. Nitra’s mayor, Marek Hattas, has strongly condemned such behaviour, standing up for the rights of the LGBTQI+ community.
The IN-HABIT project is proud to be actively involving the LGBTQI+ community in its work in both Nitra and the other pilot cities, and to have in-person relationships with many members of the community. As a project that seeks to build connections between different population groups through investing in experimental and inclusive solutions in public spaces, driving inclusion and celebrating diversity are at the heart of what we’re doing. We strongly condemn such extremist behaviour as seen in Slovakia and express our sincerest condolences to the families of the victims who lost their lives and to all the survivors of these deplorable attacks.