BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Riot police clashed with football hooligans in downtown Belgrade on Saturday. A pan-European pride march was held there despite threats from anti-homosexual groups and an official previous ban on marching in the traditionally conservative Balkan states.
Tensions rose in the Serbian capital as ultranationalist fans threw stun grenades, stones and flares into police cordons and repelled attacks with batons and riot shields. Meanwhile, hundreds of Pride March supporters gathered a few kilometers away in the pouring rain to dance and sing the march on a short route.
“We need justice and freedom,” said Goran Miletic, one of Pride’s event organizers.
Several pride marches have taken place in Serbia over the past few years, but the Slavic country, which is officially seeking membership in the European Union, has slipped towards Russia and its conservative traditions. It seems that.
Hundreds of LGBTQ activists and their supporters marched through central Belgrade under the rainbow flag. Police installed metal fences and cordoned off in full riot gear.
US Ambassador Christopher Hill also attended. “We are all brothers and sisters, children of God,” Hill said on N1 local television.
“Today is a big day for equality and a big day for this country.
As the column passed by a church in central Belgrade, the bells rang incessantly, reflecting the Serbian Orthodox Church’s determined opposition to the Pride event. After that, the marchers headed to the concert.
Previously, Serbian activists said the main reason for the march was for more rights for Serbia’s impoverished LGBTQ community, including laws regulating same-sex partnership rights such as inheritance, property and other matters. He said it was a battle.
Serbian police have banned the parade this week, citing the danger of clashing with far-right activists. He said he was assured that
Brnabic said he was proud that “over the past week there have been more than 130 (LGBTQ) events and not a single incident. That is the correct image of Belgrade and Serbia.”
According to Brnavic, 5,200 police officers were deployed in the streets of Belgrade during the pride march, 64 were detained and 10 police lost their sight.
A far-right party leader said Brunavich should have been arrested and charged with treason for allowing the march.
The European Pride Organizers Association decided three years ago to hold its annual event in hopes of a major breakthrough for the traditionally conservative, heavily Orthodox-influenced Slavic nation. chose the capital of Serbia.
EU and other Western officials and rights groups urged populist Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to allow the Pride March, but Vucic was warned of possible insurrection by right-wing groups amid the energy crisis brought on by the military government. Police claimed they couldn’t handle it. War in Ukraine.
AP writer Jovana Gec contributed to this article.
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