Belgrade Pride parade held without incidents

The Belgrade gay parade was held on Sunday under the slogan "Love Changes the World" without any incidents.

Source: Beta, Tanjug

Organizers said this was a historic Belgrade Pride parade as it moved from Slavija Square "to the heart of Belgrade."

Participants, accompanied by music, included children, and citizens with pets. Some citizens welcomed the parade by waving at its participants from their balconies, while others protested, with one holding a Serbian flag and a banner reading "Sodomy should be a crime."

Boban Stojanovic, one of the organizers, said this was not only a festival of LGBT community's pride, but also of all those who are silent and suffer because they feel helpless.

"15 years ago this was a bloody square during the attempt to hold the first Pride, and look at us now," he said, addressing the participants.

LGBT activists from Norway and Turkey also spoke at the gathering. Officials who took part in the parade included cabinet minister Ana Brnabic, Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali, head of Serbia's team for negotiations with the EU Tanja Miscevic, Equality Commissioner Brankica Jankovic, as well as chair of the Committee on Human and Minority Rights Meho Omerovic.

DS leader Bojan Pajtic, and SDS party official Marko Djurisic were also there.

Ambassadors of the EU, the U.S., Germany, Italy, and the head of the UNHCR in Serbia also took part.

Police cordons were deployed along the route where the parade's participants passed, with protective railings set up on several locations. Police officers in riot gear were also seen, along with combat vehicles and members of the mounted police brigade, with a helicopter flying over the center of the city.

The first Belgrade Pride parade was held in 2001 when a group of hooligans and activists of right-wing organizations attacked and beat up the participants. Authorities subsequently canceled the event on three times for security reasons, while the parade was held in 2010, 2014, and 2015.


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