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News 11 Sep 17

Belgrade Readies for Week of LGBT Pride

Pride Week 2017 starts on Monday with the parade planned for the end of the week amid growing confidence that the LGBT community no longer needs to 'hide' in Serbia. 

Siri Sollie

The main event of this year´s Pride Week will be the Pride Parade, which is scheduled for the end of Pride Week, on September 17. Photo: Parada Ponosa 

This years Belgrade Pride, which runs from September 11 to September 17, offers a varied program, including exhibitions, film screenings and literary evenings at various locations throughout the city.

As in preceding years, violence against LGBT people, adoption of a law on registered partnerships as well as open and objective reporting of LGBT issues are some of the central themes for this years Pride Week.

The central event, however, will be the Pride Parade, which is scheduled for the end of the Pride Week, on September 17.

The parade will start at 12am at Cvetni Square [Cvetni Trg] and end at Republic Square [Trg Republika].

Nine organisations are reported to be participating in this year's march.

In relation to the Pride Week, the first Pride Info Centre opened in Belgrade on August 29, and will be open every day until September 25.

The Program Director of Civil Rights Defenders for the Western Balkans, Goran Miletic, called the opening of the info centre a historic step for Serbia.

“We expect that from hiding away and going out on the streets twice a year, we will turn into something that is permanent and which is not in hiding. We believe that Belgrade and Serbia are ready for that," Miletic told Tanjug news agency.

Pride Parade Belgrade [Parada Ponosa Beograda' is the main organiser of the Pride Week, as it has been since the organisation was established in 2010.

The first attempt to arrange a Belgrade Pride Parade in 2001, however, was disrupted by large numbers of far-right nationalists who attacked and beat up the participants.

In 2010, the parade went ahead, but several thousand young people caused mayhem on the streets, throwing stones and missiles, injuring police and setting buildings and vehicles on fire.

Pride marches were cancelled in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013 as the authorities said they could not protect the participants.

In 2014, 2015 and 2016, the marches passed off without incident, after officials warned that violence would not be tolerated and after police maintained a higher profile presence, deploying armoured vehicles and a helicopter to prevent attacks.

Pride Week 2017 will be opened by Mirko Ilic's exhibition, entitled "Tolerance" at the Kalemegdan terrace on September 11 at 12am.

For detailed information about the program, visit parada.rs

This article was published in BIRN's bi-weekly newspaper Belgrade Insight. Here is where to find a copy.

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