Gay soccer fans warned to keep low profile at Euro 2012 in Ukraine

The best advice to gay soccer fans who want to attend the Euro 2012 soccer games in Ukraine is don't. And if you do, keep a very low profile. Ukraine is hosting the big event with Poland starting Friday. Amnesty International Ukraine campaigner Max Tucker told the Independent in Ireland:

"Gay football fans will have extremely good reason to be concerned. Not only will they have to deal with violent football hooligans who deliberately target gay people and people of ethnic minorities, they will also face an extremely corrupt police force who have a track record of beating and mistreating people because of their sexual orientation."

He added: "I would advise any gay football supporters going to the Ukraine to go there with extreme caution and be on the lookout for both the police and hooligans and try to keep as low a profile as possible."

A gay rights march in the capital Kiev had to be canceled last month after Neo-Nazi thugs crashed the event and stomped on the organizer. This prompted the British government to issue a travel advisory for gays heading to Ukraine. The situation for gays is better in Poland, though the country's strong Catholic tradition still makes it a tough place to be open.

Ukraine and Poland are already under fire after charges of racism against soccer fans. The Ukrainian government blamed British propaganda for the charges. Racism and homophobia all in one event -- so much for the "beautiful game."

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