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A Look at Serbia's Gay Community and the Violent, Anti-LGBT Forces Working Against Them: VIDEO

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Serbia's embattled gay community, which last month held its first pride parade in four years (government officials had cancelled subsequent parades citing security risks), is the subject of a new Vice News report featuring both parade-goers and the country's right-wing, religious-led efforts to try and stop September's parade from happening.

The arguments made by anti-LGBT protesters featured in the video would honestly be laughable if they weren't so disturbing. One protester claims the government is allowing the parade to happen "so that the American porn industry can film their porn films on all of our main squares" while another says the government has "reduced our wages and pensions" in order to pay for the parade. Interspersed between these absurd claims are clips showing the anti-gay mob chanting "kill, kill kill the fa**ots." Unsettling stuff to be sure. 

The country's resilient LGBT community didn't let the hate stop them this year, but the video makes it clear there is much work to be done in terms of educating the public about LGBT issues and eliminating homophobia.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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After A Four Year Absence, Gay Pride Returns To Serbia

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Gay Pride parades in Serbia have a violent past. The last one, which took place in 2010, was viciously disrupted by anti-gay protesters and resulted in over 100 injured people. Each subsequent year since, government officials have canceled the event, mostly citing security risks as the primary reason.

Pride returned to that country today, taking place in the capital city of Belgrade. The BBC reports that the march transpired almost completely without incident.

Participants marched through the centre of the city to the National Assembly, where ambassadors from numerous European countries addressed the crowd. "I feel phenomenal. Our efforts of the past three years have borne fruit," organiser Boban Stojanovic told Reuters news agency.

On Saturday evening, anti-gay rights campaigners demonstrated in the capital in anticipation of the Gay Pride march on Sunday. But the influence of the far right has declined in recent years, our correspondent says, and several government ministers have spoken in favour of the march.

According to the AP, several anti-gay protesters did try to unsuccessfully interrupt the peaceful march, though they were thwarted by the thousands of police on the ground who were quite prepared to protect the participants. 

Skirmishes were reported between small groups of extremists and police during and after the march, with soccer hooligans attacking liberal B-92 radio and TV station with flares and smoke bombs. Two policemen were injured, the station said. Also, the hooligans set one public bus on fire with flares, police said.

Water cannons, armored vehicles and riot police blocked traffic on the route of the march amid threats of attacks from extreme nationalists, as Serbia tried to show it respects human rights of all of its citizens as it seeks European Union membership.

A large-scale anti-gay march organized by the right wing group Dveri took place in Belgrade last night. In Serbia News reports on the event, which drew 5,000 people:

Before the beginning of the protest, [Dveri leader] Vladan Glisic told reporters that the campaign of “Dveri” was alerting the public “to make people understand that the story of the gay parade is not the story about human rights”. Glisic said that this is not “a homophobic protest, but protest against LGBT activists who are trying to impose a totalitarian ideology in our schools and homes and put us into a situation where family values are no longer the main values in Serbia”. At the start of the official part of the protest Serbian national anthem “Boze pravde” was played.

Watch an AFP News report on the Pride parade which includes a short interview with the mayor of Belgrade, Siniša Mali, who was in attendance himself, AFTER THE JUMP.

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Serbian Christian Orthodox Church Denounces Belgrade Pride - VIDEO

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Patriarch Irinej, the head of Serbia's Christian Orthodox church, yesterday denounced a Gay Pride march planned for this weekend, reports ABC News.

In a statement, Irinej said that the "shameless" event casts a moral shadow on Serbia.

OrthOfficials have suggested they could allow the event to go ahead despite fears of a repeat of the violence in 2010 when right-wing groups attacked a pride march, triggering clashes with police that left more than 100 people injured.

Following the attacks, authorities banned LGBT rights marches for the following three years, citing security reasons.

Holding the march is seen as a test of the country's pledge to respect human rights as it seeks membership in the European Union.

However, Irinej said that the pride organizers "and their mentors from Europe" haven't learned the lesson from the past marches.

Several far-right groups have announced anti-gay marches in Belgrade next Saturday.

On Tuesday, police announced they have filed charges against eight people who had made threats against LGBT people on social media.

Milorad Todorovic, the police officer in charge of cyber crime in Serbia, has vowed to “secure the safety of all citizens” and is hopeful that the Pride event will go ahead. "I hope the pride event will be held on Sunday."

Watch police combating extremist protesters at Serbia's 2010 Gay Pride, AFTER THE JUMP...

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EU Leans On Serbia for Gay Rights In Advance of Pride March: VIDEO

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Following the brutal attack on a German gay rights activist in Belgrade, Europeans have turned their attention to gay rights in Serbia, expressing concerns about the upcoming Belgrade Pride March. Serbians have struggled putting the event together each year since the first ever parade in 2000 due to aggressive anti-gay protesters. In recent years, the parade has been cancelled or banned mutiple times due to concerns of anti-gay violence. In fact, the parade has been cancelled every year since 2010.

There is new hope for Serbians looking for a Pride March. The European Union is presently considering incorporating Serbia, but officials have said that human rights concerns is the primary reason Serbia could be denied. This may create new incentive for the Serbian government to work harder at civil rights problems.

Buzzfeed has a quote from Terry Reintke, a member of the European Parliament from Germany, who was in attendance at the same conference as the man who was beaten. Said Reintke:

This incident is again a strong sign that there is a major problem inside of Serbia with violence, hate crimes, and should be taken as a starting point … to address this much more [forcefully] from the side of the Serbian government.

Bjorn Van Roozendaal, program director for International Lesbian and Gay Association's European division expressed a similar sentiment, saying:

The way that we look at it … based on this incident, it is the time for the Serbian government to indicate that they stand up to violence and protect minorities

Time well tell, but if this year's Pride March is held, it could be a positive turning point. Not just for LGBT Serbians, but also for the nation of Serbia in toto.

ICYMI: footage of the German activist's attack AFTER THE JUMP. Warning: violence.

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Three Arrested in Attack That Left German Gay Rights Activist in Critical Condition: VIDEO

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A 27-year-old German gay rights activist who was attending a LGBT conference in Belgrade, Serbia is in critical condition after sustaining "life threatening" injuries from an attack Saturday.

Three men have been arrested in connection with the attack - which was captured on CCTV footage, PinkNews reports:

Dusan Jovanovic, deputy director of the hospital where the man is being treated, said the man [whose name has not yet been released] has undergone surgery but is still in a “serious condition”.

He suffered internal bleeding and head injuries in the attack.

It is thought that he was set upon by a gang of men who screamed about “foreigners” in Belgrade, following the gay rights conference.

Footage of the brutal attack AFTER THE JUMP...(warning: violence)

It's unknown how much (if any) the man's sexual orientation played a part in the attack. Anti-LGBT sentiment is rampant in Serbia though, with the government frequently shutting down planned gay pride marches

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Eastern Orthodox Church Leaders Claim Conchita Wurst Caused Floods In Balkan Peninsula

Balkan Floods

Conchita wurstOf the many superpowers that drag queens posess - razor wit, flawless reading abilities, livers of granite - controlling the weather is not one of them. Eastern European religious leaders, however, are unaware of this fact and are blaming Conchita Wurst winning Eurovision 2014 for the floods in the Balkan Penninsula. Said Patriarch Amfilohije of Montenegro,

God sent the rains as a reminder that people should not join the wild side[...]God is thus washing Serbia of its sins.

So not only does the Almighty watch Eurovision, but the victory of an Austrian drag queen sends Him into such a tantrum that he destroys the lives of some 150,000 people in a completely unrelated country to express His dissatisfaction. That makes sense.


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