Serbian President says start planning 2014 Belgrade Pride now

Serbia’s President Tomislav Nikolic has said preparations for Belgrade Pride in 2014 should begin immediately after his country’s national security Bureau banned the event for the third year in a row

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic has warned that banning LGBT pride events may damage his country’s efforts to join the European Union after authorities banned the 2013 Belgrade Pride march which was due to be held on Saturday.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic announced Friday that the march could not go ahead after police warned that far right extremists were stockpiling weapons to attack marchers like they did in 2010 – the last time an LGBT pride march was attempted in Serbia.

Belgrade’s Kurir newspaper also published claims that far right extremists planned to break through police security cordons and throw acid on the marchers and then loot shops in the ensuing chaos.

‘We should begin preparations for the next year’s parade today,’ President Nikolic said on Monday, adding that all Serbians had a constitutional right to assemble and to hold political demonstrations.

Nikolic said that organizers should work closely with security agencies, the media, non-governmental organizations and international organizations to plan the best possible outcome for 2014.

‘As this has not been done, we now have a situation where [the banning of the Pride march] may jeopardize [Serbia’s] European trip,’ Nikolic said according to Balkan Insight.

Despite this year’s ban, hundreds of Serbian LGBTs marched on the Prime Minister’s office on Saturday night in an event organized on short notice.

Serbia’s LGBT community has been trying to hold a safe and successful LGBT pride march since 2001 but the events have always been attacked by far right extremists.

The last march to go ahead was in 2010 but thousands of right wing extremists and football hooligans rioted in the city, attacking marchers and clashing with police, destroying 77 vehicles and causing millions of dollars of damage.

by Andrew Potts
Source – Gay Star News