About a thousand people have taken to the streets of Belgrade on Saturday to demand that the rights of gays, lesbians and other members of the LGTBI community be respected, despite the fact that Serbian authorities had banned the Europride parade from being held.
Police have set up a security cordon along the parade route to keep away far-right and ultra-religious counter-demonstrators, the DPA agency reported.
The Interior Ministry had banned the event for “security reasons.” The organizers filed a complaint against this decision, however this has been rejected this Saturday by the Serbian Administrative Court. The prosecutor threatened the participants with severe fines for being part of an “illegal demonstration”.
The organizers informed the Interior Ministry that the parade route had been significantly shortened and went ahead with the protest, as they did not get a response from the authorities until the event had already begun.
Belgrade has hosted LGTBI Pride parades since 2014 without any accidents. The Serbian capital was the first city in southeastern Europe to obtain a permit to hold a Europride event. Several members of the European Parliament and EU politicians have attended Saturday’s parade.
At least eight Albanian activists were reportedly assaulted in the head with bottles and two of them required to be taken to the emergency room, as reported by ‘Telegraf.rs’ and reported by ‘Blic’.
The demonstrators were reportedly attacked after the parade came to an end by a group of ten radicals opposed to the celebration of the event.
Other sporadic incidents have also been recorded during the parade, as reported by the same media. In addition, a group of 250 uniformed ‘hooligans’ allegedly clashed with the police cordon, for which the agents made use of tear gas.