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„A parade within four walls“ was organized as part of the Pride week which ended in front of the heavily guarded Media Centre in Belgrade.
|Police forces securing the event | Photo by Nemanja Cabric|
Serbia’s Interior Ministry decided on October 3 to ban all gatherings scheduled for Saturday, including the annual gay pride parade over concerns of violent clashes.
The parade was initially scheduled to take place on the city streets instead of the actual ‘indoor’ version which took place on October 6th in the Media Centre.
Riot police were present at the scene to prevent clashes in case extremists attempted to attack the pride participants.
The organisers held the final pride week event with the support of their guests from various European institutions and non-government organizations. They expressed their dissatisfaction with the ban of the Gay Parade.
|Participants were prevented to get out of the building | Photo by Nemanja Cabric|
The security measures put in place forbade the participants from leaving the premises during the Pride event.
The participants agreed that a Pride Parade must be organized in Serbia, not only because it is their wish but because it is their right.
GoranMiletic, one of the organizers of the Pride Week said that he will ask the Constitutional Court to examine whether the government’s ban of the parade is unconstitutional.
„We weren't informed about any kind of security risks. Information we were provided with led us to believe the police could handle this situation“, said Miletic.
|Boban Stojanovic (left) and Goran Miletic (right), organizers of the Pride Week | Photo by Nemanja Cabric|
Miletic added that the Constitutional Court had already declared that the decision to cancel the 2009 Parade was unconstitutional. He expects that this will be the case this year as well.
„Government officials are wrong in thinking that we will get tired and give up“, added Miletic, noting that the „Parade is not a circus that will eventually leave town“.
Birgitta Ohlsson, Minister for European Union Affairs at the Swedish government, said that being silent when facing human rights violations is unacceptable.
„That is why I would like to urge all European politicians to get out of the closet of intolerance. Do not hide behind LGBT activists and let them fight on their own“, Ohlson said.
|Photo by Nemanja Cabric|
Vincent Degert, the EU Ambassador in Serbia, commented the statement of Prime Minister Ivica Dacic that „80 per cent of people in Serbia are against the Pride Parade“.
„Why don’t we have doctors coming out and explaining the reality? Why there are no discussions in schools about homosexuality. Why not in the family? If we manage to bring these messages across, then next year we will change those figures“, said Degert.
The gathering was peacefully concluded in front of the Media centre, with the participants waving rainbow flags, a symbol of the LGBT movement, and carring banners with messages of determination to keep up the fight for civil rights in Serbia.
„We hope that the authorities will find enough time to secure adequate conditions in which we could walk at least 970 steps next year on September 28“, said the organizers.
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