Tensions over LGBT Belgrade Pride parade expose rifts in Serbia’s civil rights approach

As the government hesitates to permit a gay rights parade in Serbia’s capital, the surrounding controversy sheds light on the Balkan country’s high level of social intolerance and its uncertain stance on European Union integration.

Tensions in Belgrade have been rising since May, when dates for a weeklong Gay Pride celebration starting Sept. 30 were announced. Posters issuing the threat, “We’ll see you in October” and depicting thugs beating a man carrying a crossed-out LGBT flag have appeared on walls downtown. Amateur graffiti hate slogans such as “Death to Gays” are scrawled alongside. In the past two weeks, three young men were badly beaten, one with a meat mallet, on the assumption they were gay.

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(Photo: Patrik Millikin/sxc.hu)