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LONDON, September 27, 2010 – The Serbian authorities must ensure that the 2010 Belgrade Pride – the first in nearly 10 years – goes ahead unobstructed on October 10 in central Belgrade, Amnesty International said this afternoon.
Activists from Serbian lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups will march together with their families, friends and supporters from other organisations, including Amnesty International.
Amnesty International is concerned that right wing groups will increasingly resort to threatening behaviour – both verbal and physical – in the lead up to the march, as they did last year causing the Pride to be cancelled the day before, despite the parade route being agreed with the authorities.
“Amnesty has already learnt of several attempts to intimidate individual gay rights activists,” said Tim Hancock, AI’s campaigns director.
“The threats are designed to inflame prejudice, increase hostility and encourage violence, and all with one simple aim – to destroy the gay community in Serbia.
“They cannot be allowed to continue. The Serbian authorities must take a tough stance,” he insisted.
“Under international and domestic law, the Serbian authorities must guarantee the rights to freedom to assembly, expression and association to the LGBT community and their supporters.
“The police must immediately investigate all threats, identify possible security risks from counter-demonstrators and guarantee the safety of participants.
“Political leaders should state publicly and unequivocally that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have the right to demonstrate and that anyone trying to violate these rights will be brought to justice.
“Diversity and tolerance, equality before the law for all, no discrimination on sexual orientation and gender identity grounds, are all messages that LGBT rights activists will take to the streets on 10 October.
“They must be able to do so without fear of threats and threats,” Mr. Hancock concluded.
Since 2001 the LGBT community in Serbia has been unable to hold a Pride Day parade due to serious threats from right-wing and religious organisations. However, last year, the Swedish Ambassador hosted a private last-minute “Pride Garden Party” at his suburban official residence.
In 2001, the police failed to protect participants of the first Gay Pride Parade in Belgrade from attacks by members of a counter-demonstration who threatened and assaulted participants in the march.
Despite the requirements of the national law, the authorities have failed to bring to justice those responsible for issuing threats to the organisers and supporters of the 2009 Pride.
The Serbian Anti-Discrimination Law explicitly guarantees the rights to freedom of assembly, expression and association to LGBT people. Threats that aim to destroy the rights of freedom of assembly and expression of others, and which amount to incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence against Pride organisers and participants, violate international human rights law, and also appear to violate Serbian law, such as Article 387 of the Serbian Criminal Code, Racial and Other Discrimination.
Belgrade Pride 2010 is organised by Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) and Queeria, with the support and assistance of the Group for Support of Gay Men from Novi Sad and other LGBT activists.
The Pride march on Sunday October 10 is scheduled to start at 10am at Manjež Park.SEE ALSO
Authorities in Belgrade Pledge Protection for Gay Pride as Hate Graffiti Appears in City. 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. (UK Gay News, September 13, 2010)
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)