Serbian Authorities Urged to Ensure the Necessary Protection, Support of Belgrade Gay Pride

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■ The first Gay Pride to be successfully staged in Belgrade was in 2010.  An attempt in 2001 was met with extreme violence and in 2009 the Pride was cancelled at the eleventh hour.
photo: UK Gay News



BRUSSELS, August 29, 2011    With prominent Serbian politicians questioning whether the police should protect October’s Belgrade Gay Pride, the International Lesbian and Gay Association – Europe (ILGA-Europe) has today called on the Serbian authorities to provide the necessary protection and support for the event.

And ILGA-Europe expressed concern that some Serbian politicians are questioning whether there should be police protection.

“These statements will endanger the safety of the event,” ILGA-Europe points out.

The statement goes on to say that  the Brussels-based NGO “welcomes the support of Belgrade Pride expressed by the Serbian President Boris Tadic in June 2011.

“However, ILGA-Europe is concerned about the recent statements by Interior Minister Ivica Dacic and other prominent politicians saying that the Pride event should not take place because of the security risks.

Before 2010, Belgrade Pride had a history of violence and lack of support from police and authorities.  In 2001 the pride event ended in heavy violence. Then in 2009 the LGBTI community in Serbia attempted to organise another pride event which was cancelled 24 hours before the event as the authorities could not promise to protect the participants.

Last year, for the first time ever, a successful pride event took place with heavy police protection.  However, counter demonstrations were organised by around 6000 hooligans and members of right wing organisations. They clashed with the police, injured about 150 policemen and caused hundreds of thousands of Euros damage.

ILGA-Europe is urging the Serbian authorities and police to be consistent in their commitment to human rights and provide the necessary protection and support to Belgrade Pride 2011.

“I was in Belgrade in 2010, and was happy to acknowledge that the Serbian police did their job very well and protected the participants from the violent counter demonstrators,” said Linda Freimane, co-chair of ILGA-Europe’s executive board

“I can only hope that the statements from Serbian politicians do not change this, so participants can feel secure when they are marching on October 2.”

Martin K.I. Christensen, the other co-chair, continued: “The Serbian authorities should prove that they are genuinely committed to human rights of LGBTI people.

“They can do this by making sure that Belgrade Pride 2011 is fully protected and have their support.”

■ Belgrade Gay Pride is set for Sunday October 2.


Belgrade Pride Unaffected as Anti-Gay Protesters Battle Against Police. By Andy Harley in Belgrade. There was tight security at Belgrade Pride today – the first since 2001 which saw participants violently attacked by far-right homophobic elements.  And the result today was that Gay Pride went ahead peacefully, with some 1,000 taking part in the march through a small part of the centre of the Serbian capital.  However, there were violent clashes elsewhere in the city.   (UK Gay News, October 10, 2010)

Belgrade Gay Pride: The March Went On.  Photos from Belgrade Pride 2010.  (UK Gay News, October 10, 2010)

Belgrade Gay Pride: Serbian Government Must Take a Stand Against Exclusion and Intolerance – Amnesty.  The Serbian authorities must ensure that the 2010 Belgrade Pride – the first in nearly 10 years – goes ahead unobstructed on October 10 in central Belgrade, Amnesty International said this afternoon.  (UK Gay News, September 27, 2010)

Authorities in Belgrade Pledge Protection for Gay Pride as Hate Graffiti Appears in City.  Within hours of last week’s announcement of the date for Gay Pride in Belgrade, hate graffiti started to appear in the Serbian capital.  “We are waiting for you” is one such example reported by Belgrade television station B92.  (UK Gay News, September 13, 2010)

Gay American Avoids Belgrade Thugs in City Street. The chairperson of InterPride’s committee on International LGBTI Human and Civil Rights spoke today of how he was followed on the streets of  central Belgrade yesterday evening and how it brought home to him just how Serbian society had to  live “in a constant state of fear of thugs”.  Openly gay William Urich, who was attending Belgrade Pride as an official “observer” for InterPride, told UK Gay News that he decided to go out and explore the downtown area around 6pm. (UK Gay News, September 21, 2009)

Belgrade Gay Pride Off, But Sweden Hosts ‘Mini-Pride’ at Ambassador’s Residence.  There was not a gay person, let alone a banner, in sight in the square in front of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade city centre at lunchtime on Sunday.  The Gay Pride Parade had been banned by officialdom, or cancelled by the organisers, depending on which ‘spin’ one subscribes to.  (UK Gay News, September 21, 2009)

Belgrade Gay Pride Cancelled 24 Hours Before Event Because of “Security Concerns”.  Nikolai Baev, a co-organiser of Moscow Pride, arrived in Belgrade at lunchtime looking forward to taking part in his very first Pride march.  But when he got to his hotel his excitement turned to sorrow when he learned that tomorrow’s Belgrade Pride march had been suddenly cancelled by the organisers when the Serbian Government announced this morning that the parade in the city centre could not go ahead but offered an alternative location in the suburbs.  (UK Gay News, September 19, 2009)

Gay March Plan Tests Serb Feelings.  By Mark Lowen.  A gay parade planned to take place in Belgrade on Sunday has been cancelled, due to security concerns (BBC News, September 19)









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Posted: 29 August 2011 at 11:00 (UK time)


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