Gay Travel and Pride SERBIA

AFTER A 4 YEAR ABSENCE –

                             GAY  PRIDE  RETURNS  TO  SERBIA

 

Pride returned to Serbia this week, taking place in the capital city of Belgrade. The BBC reports that the march transpired almost completely without incident.

Participants marched through the centre of the city to the National Assembly, where ambassadors from numerous European countries addressed the crowd. “I feel phenomenal. Our efforts of the past three years have borne fruit,” organiser Boban Stojanovic told Reuters news agency.

On Saturday evening, anti-gay rights campaigners demonstrated in the capital in anticipation of the Gay Pride march on Sunday. But the influence of the far right has declined in recent years, our correspondent says, and several government ministers have spoken in favour of the march.

 

FROM THE AP…

Waving rainbow-colored flags, several hundred gay activists proceeded undisturbed through downtown Belgrade on Sunday thanks to the protection of thousands of riot police.

The march advanced for only several hundred meters through the empty Belgrade streets where shops were closed and public transport was stopped. Still, it was important symbolically as a rare public event staged by gays in this highly conservative Balkan country.

Skirmishes were reported between small groups of extremists and police during and after the march, with soccer hooligans attacking liberal B-92 radio and TV station with flares and smoke bombs. Two policemen were injured, the station said. Also, the hooligans set one public bus on fire with flares, police said.

Water cannons, armored vehicles and riot police blocked traffic on the route of the march amid threats of attacks from extreme nationalists, as Serbia tried to show it respects human rights of all of its citizens as it seeks European Union membership.

“This is a very positive and strong message,” Michael Davenport, head of the EU mission in Serbia, told the pride rally. “It is also a strong message to those using the hate language.”

Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali who joined the march together with several foreign diplomats, government members and Serbian party leaders, said it was a chance to show that Belgrade is a world capital “where all of its citizens are equal.”

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