Serbian police clashed with far-right demonstrators during the EuroPride march in Belgrade yesterday afternoon, DPA reported, quoted by BTA. Several thousand people joined the parade of the LGBT community.
The procession was on the occasion of the end of the EuroPride week - an event that takes place every year in a different city on the continent. Following protests by nationalist and religious groups, the Serbian government banned the parade last week. In the end, however, it allowed the procession, albeit on a shortened route, after appeals from the European Union and human rights defenders, notes DPA. Today, the participants in EuroPride walked a few hundred meters to the Tasmajdan stadium, where a concert was held.
Serbian police clashed with two far-right groups that tried to stop the gay parade, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said. She added that 10 police officers were slightly injured, five police cars were damaged and 64 demonstrators were detained.
"I am very proud that we were able to avoid more serious incidents," Ana Brnabic told reporters. A lesbian herself, Brnabic is Serbia's first LGBT prime minister.
Previous Serbian governments have canceled gay parades, drawing criticism, including from human rights groups. Such marches in the early part of this century were met with fierce resistance and marred by violence. However, recent gay parades in Serbia have passed peacefully, a change that was cited by EuroPride organizers as one of the reasons they chose Belgrade to host the event this year, DPA noted.
Last year, EuroPride took place in Copenhagen.