Serbian nationalists attack "gay pride" parade.
Violence as Serbian homosexuals hold first Gay Pride march
Agence France Presse
June 30, 2001
Police fired in the air in a bid to disperse several hundred anti-gay
nationalists who stoned and beat homosexual activists taking part in the
first-ever Gay Pride parade in Yugoslavia on Saturday.
At least four activists and one policeman were injured when groups mainly
made up of young skinheads and Serbian nationalists attacked several dozen
gay activists on Belgrade's central square.
Radio B92 reported that at least 10 attackers were detained, while six
policemen suffered head injuries.
The radio said members of the right-wing conservative group "Obraz"
(Cheek) was organising the protest against the gay activists.
They also beat to the ground four women from the lesbian association
Lepa Mladjenovic of the Labris group told AFP that the anti-gay forces
were waiting on the square where the activists had scheduled their
gathering, immediately attacking and beating them as they arrived.
The Gay Pride march was planned months ago and came a day after thousands
of die-hard nationalist supporters of ousted leader Slobodan Milosevic
took to the streets of the capital in anger at his extradition to the
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The
Several dozen policemen managed to push back the groups, who shouted "We
do not want gays in Serbia!" "Long Live the Serbian Kingdom" and waved
WWII nationalist flags with the insignia "With faith in God, For King and
The nationalists later marched through central Belgrade, beating and
stoning small groups of gay activists gathered in a nearby students
Police again fired in the air, but failed to prevent further clashes.
One of the skinheads among the attackerss wore a T-shirt with a Dutch flag
and the initials ICTY, with the date of Milosevic's extradition, June 28
on his back.
They shouted "Serbia for the Serbs and not for gays" and "This is an
Orthodox country where there will be no immorality."
Some groups stoned the office of the the Social Democratic Union, the
party of Serbian deputy prime minister Zarko Korac, which had already come
under attack in March when six men stormed its premises, injuring four
The party has openly supported homosexual movements.
The Gay Pride demonstration was called by several groups of gay activists,
who have tried to publicize their presence in Serbia in the past two
years, to mark international gay day on June 27.
"After years of silence, we join the world celebration of the Gay pride of
homosexuals determined to break the fears and taboos, encourage each other
and decrease hostilities," its statement said.
Although the gay community in Serbia has reportedly been increasing, many
conservative traditionalists remain hostile towards it.
Soon after the demonstration was publicized placards appeared in central
Belgrade calling "the Orthodox to gather for a spiritually healthy Serbia"
at the same time as the Gay Pride.
"Let us prevent anti-Christian, homosexual immorality and perverse
orgies," the posters said.
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