After deleting it, it is forbidden here. The Serbian authorities officially banned the Europride march on Tuesday 13 September, a pan-European event for the LGBT community scheduled for Saturday 17 September in Belgrade. “The Serbian police this year banned the march of the Europride, giving an official notification to the organizers”announced Belgrade Pride in a statement released on social networkspromising to fight this cancellation. “Belgrade Pride will use all legal means to reverse this decision”guarantees movement.
The Serbian Interior Ministry confirmed a few moments later in a press release that it had banned the parade and added that a counter-demonstration against the Pride march would also be banned. “Senseless conflicts in the streets of Belgrade would make the position of our country more difficult, they would endanger the safety of the participants in the march as well as that of other citizens”Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin said.
Tension has grown in the small Balkan country since Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced on 27 August that he would call for the parade to be canceled, arousing the anger of representatives of the LGBT community – other events organized as part of Europride, from 12 to 18 September , must be maintained. The Serbian head of state has given a variety of reasons to explain his position, evoking tensions around the former Kosovo province or concerns about energy and food.
The organizers of Europride, a demonstration that subsequently took place in several European capitals, had condemned these claims, declaring that the government did not have the authority to cancel the march. Goran Miletic, one of the organizers, said the event would take place despite the ban. “We will definitely get together and parade as planned”he told Agence France-Presse.
“Risks of violence”
The Ministry of the Interior invoked security reasons to justify its decision: “The two demonstrations would have taken place very close to each other and we felt that there was a risk of attacks and conflicts, as well as the risk of violence. ” The announcement of the ban on the Pride march comes just days after a giant demonstration in Belgrade that brought together thousands of people – motorcycle gangs, Orthodox priests and far-right nationalists – calling for such a measure.
Same-sex marriage is not legal in Serbia and while Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic is openly lesbian, homophobia is rampant in the country. Holding hands in public remains taboo for same-sex couples, while nearly 60% of the LGBT community say they have been physically or emotionally abused, according to a 2020 study published by NGO Ideas and GLIC.
In 2001 and 2010, the Belgrade Pride marches were targeted by far-right groups and severe violence erupted. Since 2014, Belgrade Pride has been held regularly under heavy police protection, but without any noteworthy incidents.