Serbia cancels September European gay pride parade

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić announced the cancellation of the EuroPride European Gay Pride, which takes place annually in one of the cities of the continent in September, justifying this, in particular, by the “serious crisis” in Kosovo.

Vučić said at a press conference: “In agreement with the majority of the government and with the prime minister, the pride march, or whatever it is called, will be postponed or cancelled.” “At some point, you can’t do everything,” he added, stressing that Serbia “is under pressure” and faces “problems of every kind.”

He cited, in particular, a new escalation in disputes with Kosovo, a former Albanian-majority Serbian province that declared its independence in 2008 but was not recognized by Belgrade. He also mentioned problems with energy and nutrition.

Vučić’s announcement comes minutes after outgoing prime minister Anna Brnabic, an openly lesbian, was tasked with forming a new government almost five months after elections in early April.

The procession in Belgrade was scheduled for September 12-18 during a week of celebrations and events, with a gay market taking place on the penultimate day.

This major annual event has been held since 1992 when it was first held in London.

But the organizers of EuroPride immediately confirmed that the event would take place as scheduled, noting that many previous court decisions had confirmed the unconstitutionality of previous cancellation decisions.

“The state cannot cancel EuroPride – it can only try to ban it, which would be a clear violation of the constitution,” rally coordinator Marko Mihajlovic wrote on Twitter.

“The march will be organized as planned on September 17,” he said.

Serbia is one of the few countries whose government openly recognizes gays, but LGBT people still live in fear.

The first two such marches in Belgrade in 2001 and 2010 were accompanied by violence between anti-gay protesters and security forces.

Since then, the annual gay pride parade has been held regularly, but with a large presence of the security forces.

Source: Associated Press.

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