As thousands marched in support of EuroPride week, police clashed with right-wing protestors Saturday. The event is held every year in a different European capital.
Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said that two right-wing groups attempted to disrupt the march through clashes with police. He stated that 10 officers sustained minor injuries and five police cars were destroyed, while 64 protestors were detained.
Brnabic was Serbia’s first openly homosexual prime minister. She told reporters she was proud that they avoided more serious incidents.
After protests by religious and nationalist groups, the government had previously prohibited the march. The government allowed a shorter route after being contacted by representatives of the European Union and human rights activists.
Participants walked for hundreds of meters to the Tsmajdan stadium where they were treated with a concert.
Christopher Hill, American ambassador to Serbia, joined the march with Vladimir Bilcik, special rapporteur of European Parliament for Serbia, and Vladimir Bilcik.
Previous Serbian governments had banned Pride parades, which was strongly criticized by human right groups and others. Some Pride marches met with strong opposition in the 2000s and were marred by violence.
Recent Pride marches in Serbia were peacefully organized. EuroPride organizers cited this change as one reason Belgrade was chosen as the host for this year’s event. Copenhagen was the host in 2021.
Serbia is a candidate to join the EU, but must first meet demands for an improvement in its rule of law and record on human rights.
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