Thousands attend LGBTQ rally in Prague after Slovakia shooting

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By Euronews  with AP
Protesters in Prague held signs reading "We are queer, we want peace."
Protesters in Prague held signs reading "We are queer, we want peace."   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Petr David Josek

Thousands of protesters rallied in Prague on Wednesday to honour two gay men who were shot dead outside a bar in neighbouring Slovakia.

Demonstrators have called for more protection for the LGBTQ community and their families following the shooting.

The gathering in the Czech capital’s Wenceslas Square was held on the same day as the funerals of Matúš Horváth and Juraj Vankulič in Slovakia.

The two Slovaks were killed two weeks ago in front of a popular bar in Bratislava.

The 19-year-old suspect was found dead by police. He had allegedly shared anti-semitic and homophobic posts on Twitter before the shooting.

Police initially investigated the killings as a hate crime but later said they suspected it was an act of terrorism, and that the suspect had planned to target other people, including Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger.

Slovakia's interior minister, Roman Mikulec, has promised to intensify the fight against hate speech and extremism following the shooting.

“Social networks are full of hateful comments, or comments that endorse the attack and incite violence," Mikulec told reporters on Wednesday.

"Any approval, justification, or incitement to commit a crime is a criminal offence and the perpetrator faces up to 10 years in prison.”

Meanwhile, around 17,000 people have signed a petition calling on Czech lawmakers to pass legislation that would give LGBTQ people the same protection as ethnic, racial, and other minorities.

The petition has also demanded that the country allows same-sex marriages.