BELGRADE, Sept 12 — Thousands of demonstrators protested against the upcoming Europride event in the Serbian capital Belgrade on Sunday, days before the pan-European gathering of the LGBTQ community was set to be held.
Tensions have been simmering in the capital with pride organisers vowing to carry on with the gathering, scheduled for the coming Saturday, after the Serbian government pulled its support for the event.
On Sunday, ring-wing groups, Orthodox priests and bikers marched through Belgrade’s streets waving icons and carrying crosses. Some vowed to hold a counter demonstration if the Europride organisers went ahead with the gathering.
“I don’t discriminate against them... but they should do it at home and not impose it,” said one protester, Djordje, 25.
Belgrade Pride marches in 2001 and again in 2010 were marred by violence and rioting after far-right groups targetted the event.
Since 2014, the parade has been organised regularly but with a large law enforcement presence.
Last month, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said he had decided to “postpone or cancel” the Europride gathering. He cited a number of reasons, including recent tensions with the former breakaway province Kosovo and concerns over energy and food.
EuroPride organisers condemned the move, saying the government had no authority to cancel the event. — AFP