Serbia Bans Belgrade Pride After Security Concerns, Pressure From Orthodox Church

Once again, a Pride celebration in the Serbian capital of Belgrade has been banned, with authorities citing security concerns as the cause.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Da?i? hasn’t issued a statement about the cancellation, but had warned earlier he’d ban the parade if the risk of violence was too high. Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej has been calling on the government to stop the celebration, and an accompanying art exhibit he deemed sacrilegious.

Activists are justifiably outraged: Parade organizer Goran Mileti? calls the decision “an open coalition with hooligans, considering that representatives of the executive branch of government completely adopted the arguments of extremist organizations, and even their demands.”

This is hardly the first Belgrade Pride to be marred by threats or actual violence: In 2008 and 2009, the event was canceled by authorities, while in 2010, a massive pre-Pride demonstration against the LGBT community devolved into rioting and firebombing.

After authorities banned the parade last year, activists held an under-the-radar picnic in a nearby park.