For the first time in four years, there was a gay pride parade in Belgrade.
The march for equality took place today, 28 September, after getting approval yesterday from Serbia Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic.
According to Radio Free Europe, it’s estimated 1,000 to 1,500 people took part. The march started near the main government building in Nemanjina Street, ‘passed along Kneza Milosa Avenue and by parliament before ending in front of Belgrade City Hall.’
The route was protected by anti-riot police, special police units, armored vehicles, and water cannons.
Radio Free Europe reports 50 anti-gay demonstrators were detained.
Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic warned yesterday that ‘whoever tries to provoke incidents will be very, very severely punished.’
Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali and Michael Davenport, the head of the European Union’s delegation to Serbia, were among the politicians and dignitaries in attendance.
Actress Mirjana Karanovic, director Srdjan Dragojevic, and Serbian Minister of Culture Ivan Tasovac also took part,
‘Belgrade is an open city, which means it is open to all and that everyone here is equal,’ Mali said, as reported by Radio Free Europe.
The country, which is pursuing EU membership, has reportedly come under pressure from the Union, which says the event is a test of Serbia’s commitment to the fundamental freedoms promoted by the bloc.
Homophobia is widespread in Serbia, often supported by right-wing parties and church leaders.
Below is a Radio Free Europe clip of the parade: