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Authorities in Belgrade Pledge Protection for Gay
Pride as Hate Graffiti Appears in City
BELGRADE, September 13, 2010 – Within hours of last week’s announcement of the date for Gay Pride in Belgrade, hate graffiti started to appear in the Serbian capital.
“We are waiting for you” is one such example reported by Belgrade television station B92.
But Serbian President Boris Tadić said yesterday that the country’s constitution protects the rights of all people, regardless of nationality, religion or personal identity.
“The constitution guarantees minorities and all people the right to be different. Serbia is a home for all its citizens,” the President told B92 News.
While not directly referring to next month’s Gay Pride, the President said: “Only the State has the right to use force in accordance with the law. We will not tolerate violence or threats that endanger any institution or state body.”
On Friday, Belgrade police chief Ivica Dacic spoke directly about the Pride. He said that violence will not be tolerated, and added that investigations into the hate graffiti, along with threats posted on both Facebook and YouTube, had already begun.
Sanctions will be taken against those responsible, he told news agencies.
Former Deputy Interior Minister Bo˛o Prelević told B92 News that he thinks conditions for holding the parade “have matured”, and that there is less of a risk – and there was enough time to get potentially dangerous groups under control.
“Police have enough time to identify risky groups that are aggressive, for intelligence services to see what they are preparing, what they want to prepare in order to prevent the parade,” Mr. Prelević explained.
Boban Stojanović of the Queeria Center for the Promotion of Culture and Non-Violence, one of the Gay Pride organisers said that the threats were not unexpected.
“We, as organisers, are firmly convinced that this year the State is ready to protect its citizens. We expect that a series of so-called preventive measures will be taken,” he said.
Last year, Belgrade Pride was cancelled at the last moment when police said they could not guarantee security of participants. Ultra right wing groups had vowed to attack the parade, which was scheduled to be staged in the city centre.
However, an unannounced, small and informal gathering was held at the residence of the Swedish Ambassador.
■ Belgrade Gay Pride Parade is on Sunday October 10.SEE ALSO
Belgrade Gay Pride Set for October. Details of the planned Belgrade Gay Pride, to be staged in the Serbian capital on October 10, were revealed today at a press conference. (UK Gay News, September 7, 2010)
Belgrade Pride: A Chance to Set the Fight for Gay Rights at a New Level. Commentary by Nikolai Alekseev. Last Saturday morning, I flew to Belgrade confident that there will be a gay pride authorised and protected by the local authorities. (UK Gay News, Sept 26, 2009)
Gay American Avoids Belgrade Thugs in City Street. The chairperson of InterPride’s committee on International LGBTI Human and Civil Rights spoke today of how he was followed on the streets of central Belgrade yesterday evening and how it brought home to him just how Serbian society had to live “in a constant state of fear of thugs”. Openly gay William Urich, who was attending Belgrade Pride as an official “observer” for InterPride, told UK Gay News that he decided to go out and explore the downtown area around 6pm. (UK Gay News, Sept 21, 2009)
Belgrade Gay Pride Off, But Sweden Hosts ‘Mini-Pride’ at Ambassador’s Residence. There was not a gay person, let alone a banner, in sight in the square in front of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade city centre at lunchtime on Sunday. The Gay Pride Parade had been banned by officialdom, or cancelled by the organisers, depending on which ‘spin’ one subscribes to. (UK Gay News, Sept 21, 2009)
Belgrade Gay Pride Cancelled 24 Hours Before Event Because of “Security Concerns”. Nikolai Baev, a co-organiser of Moscow Pride, arrived in Belgrade at lunchtime looking forward to taking part in his very first Pride march. But when he got to his hotel his excitement turned to sorrow when he learned that tomorrow’s Belgrade Pride march had been suddenly cancelled by the organisers when the Serbian Government announced this morning that the parade in the city centre could not go ahead but offered an alternative location in the suburbs. (UK Gay News, Sept 19, 2009)
European Union Presidency Expresses Support for Belgrade Gay Pride. Sweden, which currently holds the presidency of the European Union, has today expressed its support for Belgrade’s Gay Pride, due to be held on Sunday (September 20). (UK Gay News, Sept 17, 2009)