A Pride parade in Serbia’s capital went off without incident today, with the theme ‘Love Heals the World’
Thousands of police lined the streets today in Belgrade for fear that the parade would be attacked by extremists, as has happened in the past.
As well as police on the ground being deployed hours in advance of the demonstration, helicopters hovered over the downtown area of the city.
But the parade went off without any incidents as hundreds of revellers took to the streets.
Mirjana Karanovic, a serbian actor, opened the parade as its official ‘godmother’, congratulating those who attended.
Human life is precious and the right to live it freely is inviolable,” Karanovic said.
The mayor of Belgrade Sinisa Mali joined the parade along with Bojan Pajtic, Democratic Party DS and Cedomir Jovanovic, President of the Liberal Democratic Party, LDP.
Previous parades have been cancelled, and the four years leading up to 2014 saw the parade banned after violent clashes took place between extremists and police.
Back in 2014, hundreds of people took part in the first Belgrade Pride parade permitted to go ahead in four years.
The previous time police allowed Belgrade Pride to go ahead was 2010, when it was marred by violent stand-offs with far-right extremists. Around 100 people were injured at the event, as extremists threw petrol bombs at the police and gay rights activists.
The event has been cancelled every year since, with the 2011, 2012 and 2013 parades all being banned by authorities over fears of violence.
The 2014 parade was also called off in June of that year, instead due to flooding in the capital, but is finally going ahead this afternoon.
The former Yugoslav Balkan country, is still conservative on LGBT rights.
Homosexuality only became legal nationwide in 1994, an there is still no recognition of same-sex relationships.
Same-sex marriage remains constitutionally banned.
Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic earlier this year appointed an out gay politician to his cabinet, in a historic first in the conservative country.
by Joseph Patrick McCormick
Source – PinkNews