BELGRADE PRIDE FACES BAN ONCE AGAIN
Tue, 2 October 2012This Saturday’s Belgrade Pride parade faces being banned once again due to government “security” fears over right-wing protests.
Prime Minister Ivica Dacic told reporters on Monday that he is concerned that the parade could lead to violence, as last happened in 2010 when the event was attacked by anti-gay thugs.
"So far we have received only partial security assessments and we may ban the parade if it proves a high-risk gathering," he told reporters.
Last year, the Serbian authorities blocked the Belgrade Pride parade from going ahead, citing the possible "obstruction of public transport, endangering health, public moral or safety of individuals and properties".
In 2001, Belgrade Pride ended in violence and the LGBTI community in Serbia only attempted to organise another pride event in 2009. That year's event was cancelled as the authorities could also not commit to protecting the participants.
In 2010, a Pride event took place with heavy police protection. However, around 6000 members of right wing organisations clashed with the police, injured about 150 policemen and caused several thousands of Euros in damage.
Critics insist that the government should not ban events due to security concerns but should rather ensure that there is sufficient protection to allow citizens to be able to express themselves freely.
Last year, Amnesty International accused the Serbian authorities of having “bowed to pressure from right-wing groups who have failed to understand or respect the rights to freedom of expression” after the event was banned.
In December 2011, the Serbian Constitutional Court ruled that the 2009 ban of Pride was unconstitutional, stating that the ban breached the constitutional right of assembly.
"The freedom of peaceful assembly is the basic presumption of democracy and it should not depend on security agencies' assessments," said Pride organisers recently.