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Police Clash With Extremists As Montenegro's Capital Holds First Gay Pride March: VIDEO

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As planned, Montenegro's capital of Podgorica held its first gay pride march today. While only an estimated 150 people marched, the event drew approximately 1,500 extremists who sought to disrupt the event, ultimately forcing police intervention, The Guardian reports.

Montenegran President Filip Vujanović had previously promised the group Queer Montenegro, who organized the march, that the government would do everything within its power to guarantee the safety of those involved. By all accounts, the government seems to have made good on that promise. Despite an explosion at the perimeter of the march, a barrage of rocks being hurled at marchers, and twelve protesters who came armed with molotov cocktails (all of whom were arrested by police), there are no reports that anyone who took part in the march was injured, according to BuzzFeed. Two thousand police officers, approximately fifty-percent of Montenegro's entire police force, were on hand for the event, Historia IME reports. Twenty police officers were injured and fourty extremist "hooligans" were also hurt as Police and anti-gay protesters butted heads throughout the day.

RainThe march in Podgorica comes as just the second Pride event in the country's history. As previously reported, the small town of Budva held its first Pride in July of this year. That event was also marred by the presence of anti-gay protesters. However, an important distinction between the march in Budva and the one in Podgorica was the presence and involvement of the government. BuzzFeed reports:

Activists were heartened by the presence of Montenegro’s minister of human and minority rights, Suad Numanović, which they took as a gesture of the government’s commitment to protecting LGBT rights. No government officials took part in the Budva march.

“In Budva, the message was … this is the Montenegro which does not support LGBT people,” said Ljiljiana Reicević, a march participant who also attended the Budva pride march. “But Podgorica is totally different. It proves that the government is stating, ‘No, We will not allow this [violence], we will stop this, and we will protect you.’”

Many have speculated that Montenegro's desire to join the European Union is a key factor behind the government's staunch support for the march in Podgorica, especially considering that dignitaries such as Mitja Drobnič, head of the European Union’s mission to Montenegro, and Laurent L. Stokvis, the Dutch ambassador to Serbia, were on hand for the event. Moreover, as BuzzFeed notes, Minister Numanović seems to believe that "Demonstrating progress towards securing LGBT rights is crucial to Montenegro’s aspirations to one day be part of the European Union":

“On the road to European integration, the government of Montenegro has shown its democratic capacity [and the pride march] shows that Montenegrin society is maturing in the protection of all minorities, including members of the LGBT community,” he said.

That was the message received by Ambassador Stokvis. “I think it is of great significance that the LGBT community here is holding this pride [and] that it is being supported and it is being safeguarded by the Montenegran government,” he said. “This of course a sign of democracy, about the right to assemble, the right to demonstrate, and the right to free speech … important values for all of us, for the European Union and for the Netherlands in particular.”

Check out some incredible photos via Joe.My.God and a video of the march AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. These places like Montenegro are light years behind places like North America and Western Europe. Even most of South America is enlightened by comparison. Amazing backwardness in 2013.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 20, 2013 7:02:18 PM


  2. true enough, Ratbastard; but you could be gracious enough to acknowledge that the government and the police took it on the chin for us that day. I'm grateful for that and wish I could send flowers to the injured policemen and their families.

    Posted by: DannyEastVillage | Oct 20, 2013 8:01:29 PM


  3. Montenegro is a beautiful place and very dependent on tourism from Europe, including tourits who come over from Croatia and Dubrovnik, just to the north.
    I think Montenegro already uses the Euro, or at least everywhere accepts the Euro as currency.
    Montenegro is very anxious to join the EU and it is up to us to lobby members of the European parliament to ensure that protecting LGBT rights is a deal breaker as far as membership of the EU is concerned.

    On a less lofty note, those people who marched must be the bravest of the brave civil rights activists.
    I wish I could say I would have such courage in similar circumstances.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Oct 20, 2013 8:11:35 PM


  4. Good. They were arrested and are now labeled “hooligans“. Thank you Montenegro Govt and the Police Force.

    Posted by: Andy Towlette | Oct 20, 2013 10:30:36 PM


  5. Montenegro is also where the Russian mafia launders their crime money.

    Russia is very influential in Montenegro - no wonder it is so backward.

    Posted by: MaryM | Oct 21, 2013 4:46:19 AM


  6. Bravo to the brave organizers/marchers and to the police for doing their job. Yes, Montenegro is behind other parts of Europe, which is why this is important. Croatia went through the same thing (with life for LGBT people improving) and Serbia is trying.

    Posted by: Ernie | Oct 21, 2013 4:48:19 AM


  7. I followed this yesterday through a live update site as well as on FB, since I have a lot of friends in the region, several of whom marched. All the gay community thought the parade was a huge success and a great step for Montenegro. As one of the Serbs said, Montenegro had two prides in one year, while Serbia can't have even one.

    Now that the state has protected the rights of LGBT citizens and arrested anti-gay hooligans, things will improve, especially if some of those hooligans end up in jail. (The numbers sound to me a bit inflated on the hooligans: I never saw that many in videos or photographs, but then most of the photographers were shooting the parade.)

    They had some great signs & stunts, including hanging rainbow flags from one of the bridges in the center of town and a sign "gay bridges unite that which is divided." But the best was their choice of the mustache as their logo, which you can see in some photos here:
    http://www.rferl.org/content/gay-pride-montenegro/25142157.html

    The best was some old Montenegrins who were horrified that their mustache, the symbol of their manhood and virility, was being coopted as a logo of the gay parade! One man who had a mustache for 57 years decided he had to cut his off!

    http://tinyurl.com/noaw8el

    Just like all those crazies who complain about us taking away their perfectly positive word "gay" and turning it to our evil purposes!

    It was brilliant, because all the great warrior heroes of Montenegro (known for maintaining its independence from the Turks) had mustaches.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Oct 21, 2013 5:13:10 AM


  8. @ KEVINVT :

    Great post . Thank you.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Oct 21, 2013 6:52:44 AM


  9. Kevin,
    you see, what you americans generaly lack is the grasp of something I fear you as a state do not have. Tradition and culture.

    You can see all this ridiculing of tradiction this mustache bussiness you see as a great joke, but I assure you, Montenegrians do not share you sentiments.

    Worry more that those arrested are almost universaly minors. Worry about bad press your friends are getting, because, police launched tear gas at the group of parents wit children who were tring to get away from the rucjkus. Worry about the fact that montenegrian politicians, who fall over themselves to aapease the EU - and who are so deeply involved with criminal gangs in Montenegro - are soon up for election.

    NOw, aomething about culture and tradition. To you it may seem insignificant. US culture and tradition consist of nothing that can be compared in scope and effect to that of European people. To the balkan people, who were for centuries under the ottoman empire, the church is a ralying point, as it persevered their culture through all that time. Montenegrians are legendary patriarchal, and the family relations are revered. ANy attack on either, the church or the family is seen as a grossest insult.

    But if you do not believe me, wiat for the next year. GLBT activist has printed in Blic, the famously EU lobbying newspaper a piece in which he claims that ortodox church is ruled by gays, and he offers no backing for his claim, no names or evidences. I can tell you it is been a day and already private citizens are aiming to bring Blic editorial for trial if the evidences for those claims are not presented. GLBT activists has again shoot themselves in the foot.

    Posted by: Saturnalia | Oct 21, 2013 10:31:32 PM


  10. Ah, dear deluded Saturnalia.

    You think there are no gays among the Orthodox priests? I have personal experience from Mt. Athos / Sveta gora to prove you wrong.

    Gays and pedophiles. And yet the church in Montenegro and elsewhere doesn't see its own problem and instead focuses on demonizing LGBT people.

    May the gays of Crna Gora shoot themselves in the foot the way the gays of Split did. We're in Split now, and the gay community considers that the atmosphere is 300% better than it was before Split Pride 2011.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Oct 23, 2013 2:50:21 AM


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