The organisers of Belgrade Pride 2011 have announced today that the Pride Parade will take place on the 2 October. In 2010, Belgrade Pride was held with success which partly was due to adequate police protection and support from the Serbian authorities. This year prominent politicians have questioned whether the police should protect the pride march – these statements will endanger the safety of the event.
ILGA-Europe welcomes the support of Belgrade Pride expressed by the Serbian President Boris Tadic in June 2011. However, ILGA-Europe is concerned about the recent statements by Interior Minister Ivica Dacic and other prominent politicians saying that the Pride event should not take place because of the security risks.
Before 2010 Belgrade Pride had a history of violence and lack of support from police and authorities. In 2001 the pride event ended in heavy violence. Only in 2009 the LGBTI community in Serbia attempted to organise another pride event. The planned pride event in 2009 was cancelled as the authorities could not promise to protect the participants. In 2010, for the first time ever, a successful pride event took place with heavy police protection. However, counter demonstrations were organised by around 6000 hooligans and members of right wing organisations. They clashed with the police, injured about 150 policemen and caused several thousands of euros damage.
ILGA-Europe is urging the Serbian authorities and police to be consistent in their commitment to human rights and provide the necessary protection and support to Belgrade Pride 2011.
Linda Freimane, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board said: “I was in Belgrade in 2010, and was happy to acknowledge that the Serbian police did their job very well and protected the participants from the violent counter demonstrators. I can only hope that the late statements from Serbian politicians do not change this, so participants can feel secure when they are marching on 2 October.”
Martin K.I. Christensen, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, continues: “The Serbian authorities should prove that they are genuinely committed to human rights of LGBTI people. They can do this by making sure that Belgrade Pride 2011 is fully protected and have their support.”
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