BREAKING: Belgrade Pride Banned. Firebombings, Looting, Violence Not So Much

The Serbian Parliament’s National Security Council has banned all major public events this weekend, effectively canceling Sunday’s Pride festival in Belgrade. The statement from the council—comprised of Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic, President Boris Tadic and high-ranking cabinet ministers and military officials—comes after Belgrade mayor Dragan Djilas called on Pride organizers to cancel the event on their own.  As recently as yesterday organizers said the march must go on at all costs, but the council claims the threat of violence is too great.

Interior Minister Djilas said:

“Police cannot support holding of all this gatherings for security reasons, because there will be clashes, victims, blood and we will end up a huge chaos.”

In 2009, Serbian authorities canceled Belgrade’s Pride parade because they claimed they couldn’t protect marchers from anti-gay protesters. In 2010, the city allocated 5,000 police officers in riot gear, on horseback and in helicopters to protect the 600 people who attended Belgrade Pride. But some 20,000 protesters firebombed cars, broke windows, slammed a bus into an electric pole, and injured 57 people; 47 of them cops.

And it’s always the homophobes who say we’re the ones ruining civilized society.

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  • Tom in Lazybrook

    So of course, in the interest of fairness, the Serbs will ban all public gatherings of those opposed to Gay rights as well, such as those led by Dveri (a right wing/police-linked/anti-Gay political group) and by the Serbian Orthodox Church until it is safe for Gay people to petition and assemble and protest in their national capital.


    1) A failed state unable (or unwilling) to protect peaceful protesters in their national capital
    2) No freedom of speech
    3) No freedom of petition
    4) No freedom of assembly
    5) No freedom of expression
    6) No freedom of association
    7) Overrun by violent thugs and anti-Gay extremist groups that are supported by an unprofessional police

  • MSquare

    A correction. Numbers for last year pride were: 1000 gay marchers, 5000 police officers protecting them, and 6000 protesters (not 20,000).

    What Tom added is also important to get the whole story.

  • Daine

    The USA would never have the cops terrified of far-right neo-nazis. That’s for sure.

  • codyj

    I lived in Belgrade for 5 yrs ..Yes, gays are ‘nfg” ,and the “greek ortho” rules..most gays I knew were waiting for visas to US ,and Canada…ASAP. Also add ..all homes heated with soft coal (choke-gasp)…dial telephones..most times not reliable, and all trains were STEAM…granted, this was 20 plus yrs ago,but this news shows they are still well behind the usual, however, there are MANY,WARM, CARING, OPEN MINDED SERBS there…mostly younger,some older,who don’t have a problem with ‘us”

  • jason

    Serbia is a shit-hole. You’d only go there if it was the last place on Earth, and even then you’d hesitate.

  • mark

    @Tom in Lazybrook:

    Serbia isn’t a failed state. It’s just violently homophobic and racist (remember the ethnic cleansing/genocide of the 1990s?), like a few other Eastern Europe. This kind of violence is part of their history (pogroms against Jews, for instance).

    Serbia and other countries suffer from ultra-nationalists, who misconstrue patriotism for superiority. Ethnic, sexual, and racial minorities are frequent targets of oppression. Doesn’t this sound familiar to Americans? This kind of lunacy appears in our country to a lesser degree now but just a few decades ago, lynchings were the scenes of family gatherings.

  • Parson Thwackum

    Serbia isn’t a state at all, it’s a 20-year soccer riot looking for more Muslims and gays to torture to death. There’s no hope for it until it gets completely re-educated by some outside power.

  • Alex Kalashnikov

    @Tom in Lazybrook: And you suggest that the police should beat up about 80% of Serbian population that does NOT support the parade?

  • Alex Kalashnikov

    It is staggering to see the amount of rubbish said about Serbia in the comments. Have a cry, fags. Serbia wins again! ?????? ?? ????, ?????????!

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    @Alex Kalashnikov: Really? Do you realize that Serbia has just announced that it will not protect minorities in its’ capital. This has HUGE implications for the Serbs in Northern Kosovo (Mitrovica). Any statements by the Serbian government that they can protect the Kosovar minority in Mitrovica have been shown to be worthless.

    Serbia cannot control its’ own capital from marauding bands of violent thugs. How can they argue that they should be allowed to hold control over the Kosovar minority in Mitrovica?

    Serbia just lost that argument. And any hope of EU accession.

  • Tom in Lazybrook


    Here’s what’s coming next

    1) A lawsuit by every member of the Parada Ponosa against Dveri, Dacic, the Serbian Police, and the Police Union. Which will be appealed to Strasbourg where Serbia will lose. Massively.

    2) A demand that the Serbian government ban every single public event promoting or sponsored by groups opposed to Gay rights. Including any public expression of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

    3) A lawsuit claiming refusal to jail Obraz, whose leader was criminally convicted of extremism after last year riots, but who remains out of jail (and is somehow able to get a parade permit). In addition, since the police are claiming threats to public safety, then we will expect jail sentences (that are actually served) to come out of this.

    4) Action demanding that UEFA bar Serbia from hosting football matches. We’ll work with the French (remember the murdered French football fans last year?). Serbia obviously is too unsafe to host international events.

    5) I hope Parada Ponosa will announce that Gay Pride will be held next Sunday. Lets ensure that no parades or festivals take place in Belgrade until Gays have their right to freedom of protest, petition, assembly, association, and speech in their national capital.

    6) We will be demanding that government officals tied to the banning of freedom of protest for LGBT Serbians be banned from entry to the EU, the UK, and the USA. As well as members of Serbian Doors and Obkaz.

    7) The right wing in Serbia argued that there should be no Gay pride because the police are needed in Mitrovica. We agree that Mitrovica and Belgrade should be linked. No ability to protect minority rights in Belgrade….No autonomy for Serbs in the Northern part of the Republic of Kosovo.

    Russia can’t help Serbia. The price of oil is too low.

  • MSquare

    Lovely, Jason. Spread the tolerance and open-mindedness. My bf would beg to differ. We visited Serbia several times and loved it. It was nothing he could’ve imagined from the media.

  • MSquare

    Bravo, Tom! I hope you are in touch with the organizers of the Belgrade Pride. I will try send them this page and your comments. Great analysis and resource to a brainstorm session. Thank you!

  • Mark

    Problem in Orthodox Christianity Church. In Russia and Ukraine analogical situation. Abraham’s religions are tragedy of humankind!

  • fag from the balkans

    @Mark the idiot

    If it is Orthodox Christianity you blame, tell me how come Greek prides go peacefully? Bulgarian Prides are not as safe as in the rest of EU, but still they are quite big and successful? That goes also to Romania.

    Tell me how come that some places where the Catholic Church is dominant have much violence, such as Lithuania (where one of the persons who attacked the police and gays was a member of the parliament), Poland, Hungary and even Czech Republic?

    Most of you are bunch of racist and narrow minded westerner bastards who have one dimensional perspective of the Balkans. Like these people who are organizing Gay Pride arent Serbs themselves.

  • Mark

    @fag from the balkans: You are an idiot. Romania, Bulgaria and Greece also very homophobic. Many catholic countries just not religious now. Of course, all kind of Christianity idiotical crap. And Islam and Judaism too.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    @fag from the balkans: Poland and Lithuania HAVE Gay Pride parades. So does the Czech Republic. Fact. We don’t demand that every single person in the government support Gay rights, but simply the right to make our case on the streets of our capitals (including Belgrade). In Belgrade, we are prevented from even discussing Gay rights in public because of violence from Orthodox aligned skinhead groups.

    You are correct that some moronic Lithuanian member of the Seimas tried to attack the Gay pride parade in Vilnius last year. All he did was get arrested by the police. But according to the Gay community there, the real violent problem comes from the Orthodox (Russian) minority or the new evangelicals in the Baltics.

    Romania and Bulgaria are AWFUL. Orthodox Moldova is worse. The only Orthodox country not awful is Greece, where the culture has always been more freewheeling than the rest of the Balkans.

  • Hyhybt

    If their trains are still steam, then they’ve got one good thing going for them anyway :)

  • fag from the balkans

    @Mark the idiot.

    You cant even point US on the map, so lets not talk about the Balkans. Stop it please, you dont know a shit about what are you writing. You’re just an ignorant bigot.

    Religion is not the reason such a homophobic outcome in Serbia, the patriarchy is.

    Read books, you wont itchy eyes.

  • Doot

    Can we just agree that the balkans are an abject shit hole and move on?

  • Hyhybt

    @fag from the balkans: There are some commenters here who will take *every* opportunity to speak ill of religion and to blame any problems that come along on it. Not even on the specific religious teachings or people who are actually causing the trouble, but all religion everywhere.

    And they’ll surely have some nasty replies for my saying so, including supposed justifications.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    @Hyhybt: Regardless of what one might think of religion, the Serbian Orthodox Church appears to have its hands in the violence and repression of LGBT rights. It is true that Patriarch Irinje (the head of the Serbian Orthodox “Church”) did say in the English language press that he doesn’t support violence, but then those under his direct control are claimed as supporters of a convicted anti-Gay violent extremist (Obradovic) in Balkan Insider.

    Furthermore, Irinje has also stated that a Gay Pride Parade is satanic and has made no statements in support of freedom of PUBLIC speech, protest, petition, and assembly for LGBT Serbians or for anyone opposed to the political stances of the Serbian Orthodox “Church”/Obraz/Nasi 1389.

    Irinje is definately playing footsie with violence against Gays. And has taken no steps to publically sanction or condemn his own priests who are working with violent homophobes.

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