Yesterday in Belgrade, over 1,000 people took part in the first gay pride event in four years.
The past three years saw pride events cancelled due to threats and protests. Only small outbreaks of violence occurred thanks in great part to the protection by thousands of riot police.
From Gay Star News:
Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic warned yesterday that ‘whoever tries to provoke incidents will be very, very severely punished.’
Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali and Michael Davenport, the head of the European Union’s delegation to Serbia, were among the politicians and dignitaries in attendance.
‘Belgrade is an open city, which means it is open to all and that everyone here is equal,’ Mali said, as reported by Radio Free Europe.
The country, which is pursuing EU membership, has reportedly come under pressure from the Union, which says the event is a test of Serbia’s commitment to the fundamental freedoms promoted by the bloc.
Homophobia is widespread in Serbia, often supported by right-wing parties and church leaders.