A decision on whether Serbian authorities will allow the Belgrade Pride Parade planned for October 6 2012 to go ahead. Serbian prime minister Ivica Dačić was quoted by media in Belgrade as saying that the decision would be made by the interior ministry. Dačić, apart from being PM, is also interior minister.
Previous planned Pride events in Belgrade have been cancelled or ended in violence following attacks by extreme right-wingers and football fans. Dačić said that the 2012 event would be banned depending on police assessment of security risks.
The first attempt at such an event in the Serbian capital, on June 30 2001, ended in violent turmoil after participants – lacking an adequate police escort – came under attack. The 2004 attempt was cancelled because of threats. The 2009 event was cancelled after authorities ordered it moved away from its planned route.
In October 2010, the Belgrade Pride came under attack from extreme right-wingers and football fans, who also looted shops, destroyed municipal property, set fire to the headquarters of the democratic and liberal parties and a television station. In the melee as police sought to protect Pride participants, 147 police and 25 others were injured. Official statements numbered the arrests at 250.
Previously, the organisers of Belgrade Pride have rejected the question of whether the event could be held as being left in the hands of the interior ministry and its assessment.
In early September, the Belgrade Pride 2012 Organization Committee said that it acknowledges the support that PM Ivica Dačić proclaimed for this year’s Pride; “we however, perceive as absolutely unacceptable his opinion that the freedom of assembly depends on the security agencies’ assessment. Such a statement is contradictory to Serbian constitution and is not compliant with the standards that clearly oblige Serbia, being a member of the Council of Europe”.
On October 1, Dačić – as quoted by media in Belgrade– said that the gay parade planned for October 6 “has already been marked as a high risk event in some appraisals”. He also had asked for assessments of other events planned that day, by extreme right-wing groups opposed to the Belgrade Pride event.
Dačić criticised organisers for, among other things, an exhibition that is part of Pride Week that he said linked Jesus Christ to LGBT people. “I don’t know how that will help with everything going peacefully,” said the prime minister, and, according to reports, “recalled the protests in Muslim countries caused by the film about Mohammed”.
The Belgrade Pride website records a number of expressions of support for the event, including – among others – from the ambassadors of Canada and of Norway, from organisers of Pride events elsewhere in Europe, from liberal and Greens MEPs, the Council of Europe, local OSCE offices and from actors and musicians including Stephen Fry, Cyndi Lauper, Kim Wilde, Miriam Margolyes and Alan Cumming.