Belgrade Gay Pride canceled due to security concerns
Serbia’s gay pride march was canceled by organizers after authorities said they could not guarantee protection for the event from extremist groups.
Belgrade Pride 2001
The decision came after a recent wave of homophobic graffiti messages like "Gay parade - we're waiting for you" and "Death to homosexuals".
A previous event ended with running battles on the streets of Belgrade.
The Beta news agency said police had proposed a large open space across the Sava river from the city centre, to host the event. It had been planned for outside the philosophy faculty in the middle of Belgrade.
"The message of equal rights is transmitted symbolically when a group on the margins is able to parade in the centre of the capital," organiser Dragana Vuckovic said. Changing the location "would be unacceptable for us. As a result we decided to cancel".The ultra-nationalist Serb Popular Movement 1389 hailed the cancellation of the march as "a great victory for normal Serbia."
Ultra-nationalist group, Nasi (Ours), warned that "European Union and American leaders who support (homosexuals) should know that as long as there are Orthodox Serbs there will be no homosexual parade in Serbia."
According to BBC, Marko Karadzic, the state secretary for human rights, said "The fact that the pride couldn't go ahead shows that Serbia is still a homophobic society". "I want to show that we have moved away from the values we inherited from Slobodan Milosevic, that we have learned from the past that violence is not an option to fight against something you don't understand or aren't willing to understand."