A gay pride march turned violent in Podgorica, Montenegro, as police clashed with anti-gay extremists who meant to disrupt one of the first gay pride marches in the region.
March organizer Danijel Kalezic said the police protection allowed about 150 gay rights activists to march peacefully through the city. However, they were countered by about 1,500 anti-gay extremists who threw stones and firebombs at the officers protecting the march participants.
Police said upwards of 60 people were injured during the melee, 20 of whom were officers and 40 coming from the so-called “hooligan groups.” About 60 extremists were arrested.
Though the government of Montenegro, a country of about 600,000 people, publicly supports tolerance, the citizens obviously feel differently, as this is not the first time a gay pride event in Montenegro has been met with violence and chaos. Back in July, extremists chanted “kill the gays” and pelted rocks and bottles at participants in their first ever pride event.
Although anti-gay behavior persists at the events, Kalezic doesn’t see the most recent march as a failure, despite the violence that occurred. ”As of today, gay people are no longer invisible in Montenegro,” Kalezic said. “From today, these streets are ours as well.”
Photo: Boris Pejovic/EPA