EU ambassador to stand up for gay pride in Serbia

Published: October 6, 2010

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – The EU’s ambassador to Serbia, French diplomat Vincent Degert, has said he is willing to put his neck on the line in support of what he calls EU values by personally attending the Belgrade Pride event in the Serb capital on Sunday (10 October).

Mr Degert made the offer while speaking at an event in the Hotel Continental in Belgrade on Tuesday to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the so-called Bulldozer Revolution, which overthrew the administration of Slobodan Milosevic. He also encouraged Serbian government officials to come along.

The EU delegation will make the final decision on Mr Degert’s attendance on Thursday pending security advice.

The last Pride event in Belgrade, in 2001, ended in mass-scale street fights when football supporters’ clubs, among others, attacked the pro-gay-rights marchers. A planned event in 2009 was cancelled over security fears. This year, Serb police plan to field between 3,000 and 5,000 officers – more than three officers per Pride demonstrator expected – in order to discourage violence.

Lazar Pavlovic, one of the event organisers, told this website that other EU embassies are also planning to send senior people to observe or stand alongside the demonstrators, but the final list of EU attendees is still unclear. Representatives from the Brussels-based campaign group, the European region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe), are expected to come along, as well as individual protesters from nearby EU countries, such as Bulgaria.

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