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Serbian authorities ban Belgrade Pride again

The Serbian capital’s annual gay pride parade has been banned ‘for security concerns’ for the second time in two years after anti-gay groups threatened another riot
Dragan Marković

An MP from Serbia’s governing coalition has told media that this year’s Belgrade Pride parade will be cancelled again this year ‘for security reasons’ just days before the city’s pride festival was due to begin.

Belgrade Pride organizing committee member Goran Miletić had told a coalition of NGOs who were supporting the event that the Belgrade Pride festival was well prepared on September 17 for its September 30 start, with the pride march to take place on October 6.

‘Belgrade Pride is ready and as far as we're concerned, we could start tomorrow,’ Miletić said according to the Tanjug news agency.

However this week United Serbia MP Dragan Marković told Belgrade’s Prva TV that the parade would be cancelled after all.

It appears that the non-parade events of the festival will be allowed to take place, though Marković, who leads a nationalist minor party in the country’s governing coalition, questioned ‘what the organizers planned to do for a [whole] week.’

Last year’s Belgrade Pride parade was banned by the country’s Interior Minister just three days before the event was due to take place after far right groups threatened to riot through the city if it went ahead.

A march went ahead in 2010, but anti-gay rioters caused more than €1 million in property damage, and the parade has been banned most years since it first took place in 2001.

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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