Serbia Bans Pride Parade Amid Security Concerns


By Bojana Barlovac

Serbia’s national security council has decided to ban all gatherings scheduled for the weekend including the annual gay pride parade which was due to take place on October 2, over concerns of violent clashes.

The ban, announced this afternoon, came shortly after Serbia’s Interior Minister Ivica Dacic told press that police would not be able to prevent violence if it was held.

“Due to security reasons, police cannot support the events being held as they will result in conflicts, victims’ blood, and therefore we will get into a big mess,” Dacic said earlier today. “The police has faced a choice – to let the riots occur, or to pray to God that it will not happen,” he added.

Several Serbian far-right organisations had scheduled rival rallies on the day of the parade, raising fears that there would be street disturbances on the same scale, or worse, than those experienced last year.

On Tuesday, the leader of Serbia’s Independent Police Union, Momcilo Vidojevic, said the police had obtained information that some rightists were preparing an operation under the alarming codename “Belgrade in flames” for October 2.

“According to our intelligence, hooligans are planning to hold destructive protests in all Belgrade municipalities and in some other Serbian towns,” Vidojevic said. He also said that police were not adequately equipped for such potentially violent events.

Last October’s parade, the first to be held since 2009, ended in mayhem as stone-throwing anti-gay youths clashed with police.

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (formerly the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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