Participants in the 2010 Belgrade Pride march.
(Pic: UK Gay News)
Activists have expressed concern that a Pride parade planned for October 2nd in Belgrade may face violent attacks by right wing hooligans.
Belgrade Pride has a history of violence and lack of support from police and authorities.
In 2010, the event was successfully held, in large part due to police protection and support from the Serbian authorities.
This year, however, prominent politicians have questioned whether the police should protect the Pride march, statements which activists say may endanger the safety of the event.
ILGA-Europe said it 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”.
The organisation urged 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 late statements from Serbian politicians do not change this, so participants can feel secure when they are marching on 2 October.”
In 2001 Belgrade pride ended in violence and, as a result, the LGBTI community in Serbia only attempted to organise another pride event in 2009. That years’ event was ultimately cancelled as the authorities could not commit to protecting the participants.
In 2010, for the first time, 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 several thousands of Euros in damage.
ILGA-Europe has urged people to send messages of support, that will be published on the Belgrade Pride 2011 website, to the event’s organisers on firstname.lastname@example.org.