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Serbia PM calls Belgrade gay pride a 'security risk'

Belgrade LGBT pride organizer says parade is still planned to go ahead despite ban fears
Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic says he will ban Belgrade gay pride if it poses a security risk

Serbian authorities are continuing to threaten to ban a gay pride festival in the capital Belgrade this weekend over fears of violence from right wing thugs.

Prime Minister Ivica Dacic says the event, which features a parade on Saturday (6 October), poses a security risk.

He said: 'So far we have received only partial security assessments and we may ban the parade if it proves a high-risk gathering.'

If banned, it will be the second year in a row that authorities have outlawed the LGBT rights celebrations following violent attacks by anti-gay protesters at the event in 2010.

The rioters injured hundreds of marchers and caused more than €1 million in property damage.

However, organizers of Belgrade pride have insisted the event is still planned to go ahead, despite right-wing groups planning to hold counter rallies on the same day.

'So far we have not heard the information that the Pride will not be held. The walk is planned for next Saturday and I hope that it will be held,' pride organizer Goran Miletić told the B92 website.

He added: 'We have good relations with the police, we are having intensive talks about security but those are technical issues.

'Two persons are in charge of security in our country. They are Prime Minister Ivica Dačić and Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić who is a coordinator of security services. They have to ensure our safety.'

Earlier this year a romantic comedy about a gay couple trying to organize a gay pride parade in Belgrade became a surprise hit across the Balkans, with over half a million people watching the film across the six former Yugoslav republics.

But Serbia, along with other EU hopefuls, has been urged by the European Parliament to do more to defend the rights of its LGBT citizens.

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