news 17 Jun 13

Serbia Right-Wing Extremists to Spy on Gays

Serbian right-wing extremist group SNP Nasi says is putting up surveillance cameras in apartments near a new lesbian and gay centre in an attempt to shut it down.

BIRN
Belgrade

SNP Nasi has announced that it will start putting up cameras in private apartments on Kraljice Natalije Street in downtown Belgrade where lesbians and gays opened their first community centre in the city earlier this month.

It said that it wants to gather proof that “prostitution” is being organised at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual centre and to pass on evidence of this to the police.

"Because of the fear for children [in the neighbourhood] because of the people coming to the centre and because of the risk of infection, SNP NASI will help to close the LGBT centre where prostitution is organised," SNP Nasi said in a statement.

According to the right-wing group, the plan is the result of an initiative by people who live in the nearby buildings and have given their consent for cameras to be installed in their apartments.

The centre is open only to LGBT people for socialising and getting access to information. Guests from abroad must be announced in advance.

Gay activist Predrag Azdejkovic said that members of SNP Nasi should be arrested for being part of "a para-police organisation".

"I do not know what they imagine they are, but this country there is the police and the police examine [such cases]," Azdejkovic said.

According to surveys, Serbian society remains deeply homophobic, as a result of which gay people tend to live in isolation and with a high degree of secrecy.

In 2009, 2011 and 2012, the authorities banned gay pride parades after police declared they could not safeguard marchers against threats of violence coming from right-wing groups.

A Gay Pride march went ahead in 2010, but several thousand young people, including football fans and members of right-wing organisations, threw stones and missiles at the police and set buildings and vehicles on fire.

This year, organisers have announced that Belgrade Gay Pride will be marked from September 20 to 29, while the central march through the capital is set for September 28.

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