After the lifting of an earlier ban, a march was organized in support of LGBTQ rights in the capital of Serbia on Saturday. Conservative activists tried to disrupt the event and clashed violently with police.
Local media cited organizers as saying that the 2022 EuroPride marches in Belgrade attracted nearly 10,000 participants. This parade was held as part of EuroPride Week, which featured events in various European cities.
The march was stopped by police, who surrounded the protesters with a lot of force.
However, there were minor clashes, as demonstrators fired stungrenades, stones, and flares at security staff. Ten officers sustained injuries as a result, Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic revealed. According to the premier, 64 members of the conservative protest movement were also detained.
The US ambassador to Serbia, Christopher Hill, who attended the parade, took to Twitter congratulating “all of Serbia on a safe, successful #EuroPride2022 that affirms Serbia’s European future.”
The European parliament’s special rapporteur for Serbia, Vladimir Bilcik, was among the other foreign dignitaries spotted at the gathering.
The march was still in doubt until the very last moment, however, because the Serbian authorities had earlier banned it, and claimed that the police wouldn’t be able adequately to protect participants.
On Friday, Serbia’s Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin confirmed that the “The ban on EuroPride 2022’s march remains in force.” emphasizing that “The pressures of great power West have not affected anyone, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs.”
Serbian leader explains the reasons he cancelled LGBT event
However, Western officials were critical of the decision. Saturday’s event organizers stated that they received the approval from Prime Minister Ana Brnabic (who is openly homosexual) on Saturday.
The prime minister dismissed the other officials’ security concerns, citing several previous LGBTQ events held in Belgrade that had passed “Without a single incident.” The organizers, however, had to shorten the original route.
Meanwhile, the leader of one of the country’s right-wing parties has called for Brnabic to be arrested for treason.
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