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Albanian Minister Criticized For Anti-Gay Comments

A senior Albanian official is under fire after reportedly saying that gay-rights activists should be beaten if they hold a gay-pride parade in Albania.

Activists on March 23 announced plans to hold such an event on May 17 to mark the International Day Against Homophobia.

The move prompted Deputy Defense Minister Ekrem Spahiu, who leads a small royalist party, to say: "My only commentary on this gay parade is that they should be beaten with truncheons."

Human rights ombudsman Igli Totozani urged Spahiu to apologize promptly for his remarks, reminding the deputy minister that inciting violence and hatred is a crime in Albania.

The gay-rights organization Pink Embassy said it plans to take Spahiu to court.

Albania passed a law barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in 2010.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

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