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Hundreds of Serbian Gay Rights Activists Protest Government Shutdown of Pride March: VIDEO

Serbia

Hundreds of gay rights activists took to the streets last night with flags and banners, protesting a government shutdown of a planned LGBT Pride march for the third year in a row. The march had been planned for Saturday.

The government had previously announced it would allow the march to be held because it hopes to be accepted in the European Union and therefore must demonstrate that its LGBT citizens are respected and protected but the threat of violence from right-wing nationalists caused it to cave, Reuters reports:

"After a long discussion on whether the march would pass without severe consequences, the security assessments indicated severe threats to public safety," Dacic said after a three-hour meeting with security chiefs.

"This is not a capitulation to the hooligans," he said.

Reuters adds:

Riot police had fanned out through downtown Belgrade on Friday evening in anticipation of Saturday's march, and Serbian media reports said before the ban that more than 6,000 officers would be deployed to maintain order with a string of anti-gay demonstrations announced.

Speaking before the evening protest, Miletic said of the ban: "Everyone's a loser here, except the hooligans who for the third consecutive year proved they can tell that state what it can and cannot do."

But the threat of violence did not stop a group of activists who took to the streets anyway.

Some media compared their actions to Stonewall:

Soon after they learned that authorities banned the pride the activists were promptly organized and around 11 p.m. they gathered in hundreds in front of the Prime Minister office. The police was there immediately but they could not stop anymore the activists who started to march in the streets joyfully and shouting “We don’t give up!”.

A Euronews report on the shutdown and march:


Serbia Bans Gay Pride Parade, Citing Security Risk

Serbia's Gay Pride parade planned for this weekend in Belgrade has been canceled as have all activities related to it, B92 reports:

SerbiaPreviously, Dačić said that the parade would be banned if security services found the risk of violence associated with it was too high.

Goran Miletić, one of the organizers, told B92 that they had received an explanation from the MUP "which said absolutely nothing except to quote a legal article which stated that it had been appraised that security could be jeopardized during the gathering".

Serbian Patriarch Irinej had urged Prime Minister Ivica Dačić to ban the parade as well as an art exhibition by Swedish artist Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin, which depicted Jesus Christ dressed in women's clothing:

In a release submitted to Tanjug, the patriarch says the "tragicomic parade of shame" casts a heavy moral shadow on Belgrade, on Serbia's longstanding Christian culture and the dignity of the family, as the basic unit of humanity.

Commenting on the exhibit, which has stirred a lot of debate in the public, the patriarch said it was "deeply insulting."

"I had not expected that this year I would again be forced to turn to you on behalf of the Serbian Orthodox Church, its members, who are the dominant majority in Serbia, and on behalf of numerous members of other religions, with the plea and demand that, by your authority as prime minister, you prevent the scandalous exhibit of photographs by Swedish artist Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin," Irinej wrote.


Serbian Authorities May Once Again Ban Gay Pride Over Security

Gay Pride in Serbia may be banned again this year as it was last year, Reuters reports:

BelgradePrime Minister Ivica Dacic, who also serves as interior minister, said on Monday the planned parade - whose purpose it to call for better and more gay rights in the predominantly Serbian Orthodox Christian society - was a major security risk. "So far we have received only partial security assessments and we may ban the parade if it proves a high-risk gathering," he told reporters.

The authorities outlawed last year's parade at the last moment for the same reason and dozens were injured the year before in violent clashes between police and ultranationalists unhappy about the event.

This year, rightists want to hold a counter-rally in the Serb capital on Saturday, the day of the planned gay parade, and have also threatened to disrupt an exhibition by Swedish artist Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin, which they say mocks Jesus Christ because it shows him in female clothes and high heels.

Serbia's 2010 Gay Pride was its first since 2001.  Hundreds of right-wing protesters attacked and injured more than 100 people, including many of the 5,000 thousand police officers that were there to protect marchers.


Belgrade Plans 8 Day Pride 'Occupation' Culminating in Parade

LGBT activists in Belgrade, Serbia are undaunted by violence in past years and are planning to expand their presence around an annually planned Pride parade in October, B92 reports:

Shame"This year, the concept has been changed, so the 'famous march' will be held on October 6, while we will make a festival that will last eight days. We will occupy the city for eight days, because this city belongs to us," said committee member Boban Stojanović.

He also specified that the festival would last from September 30 until October 7.

Stojanović told reporters that the parade would be held under the slogan "love, faith, hope".


Serbian Interior Minister Wants to Call Off Gay Pride Parade So the Police Will Be Safe

Belgrade

You may recall that last year Belgrade was host to Serbia's first Gay Pride parade since 2001. It was a nightmare. Hundreds of nationalist and religious right-wing protesters attacked and injured more than 100 people, including many of the 5,000  police officers who were present to protect it.

Dacic Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dačić said this week that this year's parade should be called off in order to protect the police force:

“Police always pays the highest price, not only financially but also when it comes to injuries. Many police officers were injured last year,” he pointed out.

The minister stated that if police operated in accordance with the security assessments, the Pride Parade would be declared a high risk event and they would think about calling it off.

“It is not up to police to make such decisions whether some gathering should be held or not,” Dačić stressed and called on state organs and society to voice their opinion about the parade.

The European Commission and the European Parliament are closely monitoring activities in Serbia related to the Pride event, the minister noted.


Intoxicated Amy Winehouse Gives Blitzed Concert in Belgrade: VIDEO

Winehouse

Amy Winehouse gave a concert in Belgrade over the weekend. Actually, more like slurred on stage, stumbled, forgot lyrics, and had to, at one point, get support to stand up from a back-up musician.

This was Winehouse's "comeback" performance. She was eventually booed off the stage, Radar reports. The singer canceled several subsequent shows, but wants payment for the mess you'll see below.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Intoxicated Amy Winehouse Gives Blitzed Concert in Belgrade: VIDEO" »


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