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Protesters march in Belgrade against planned gay Pride event

A man in a T-shirt bearing the letter Z holds an icon as he protests against the international LGBT event Euro Pride.

On Sunday, 28 August, thousands of right-wing and religious opponents to a European gay Pride event being hosted in Belgrade marched through the capital of Serbia.

The EuroPride march, which is held in different European cities each year, will be held in Belgrade on 17 September. However, President Aleksandar Vucic announced on Saturday that the EuroPride march would be postponed or cancelled due to threats from right-wing activists.

Sunday’s protest against EuroPride was held in a procession marking a religious holiday. It was led by clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Some of their bishops believe that the Pride event is a threat to traditional family values and should be stopped.


One of the banners that protesters held up on Sunday read: “Save our children, family,” some also carried crosses.

Other participants in Sunday’s march sang slogans supporting far-right and nationalist causes.

As the Belgrade government attempts to balance its ambitions to join the European Union and its longstanding ties to Russia and China, some waved Russian flags.

On Saturday, the president stated that EuroPride would be scrapped and held for later safety reasons. He also mentioned threats from right-wing “hooligans” and issues like the ongoing dispute with Kosovo, as well as the energy crisis.


He said that the EuroPride event would be a success, but it would happen in a different and happier time.

Belgrade’s ban of EuroPride was criticized by a U.N. representative. Francoise Jacob (the U.N. resident coordinator for Serbia) stated in a statement that “it would go against Serbia’s international human rights obligations.”

Pride parades were banned by previous Serbian governments. This has drawn criticism from human rights groups, as well as others. Some Pride marches that took place in the early 2000s were also met with strong opposition and were marred through violence.

However, recent Pride marches in Serbia are peacefully over. This change was cited by EuroPride organizers as one of the reasons why Belgrade was selected as the host for 2022. In 2021, Copenhagen was the host.

Serbia is a candidate for membership in the EU. To become a member, Serbia must first comply with demands for improved rule of law, human and minorities rights records, as well as removing organized crime and corruption, and repairing ties to Kosovo.

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