Serbia: banning of Saturday's Belgrade Pride is 'victory for hatred'

‘The banning of the 2013 Belgrade Pride is a victory for hatred' - Jezerca Tigani

The Serbian authorities’ decision to ban the 2013 Belgrade Pride for the third year in a row is a clear breach of the country’s own law and constitution, Amnesty International has said.

Serbia’s Security Coordination Bureau announced the ban late on Friday, just hours before Saturday's march.  Prime Minister Ivica Dacic - who is also minister of the interior - cited alleged serious security concerns, including the safety of citizens and participants, and preservation of public peace as reasons for cancelling the parade.

Amnesty is calling on the Serbian authorities to provide a detailed analysis of the security threats cited by the Prime Minister. They must also conduct a thorough and prompt investigation into any such threats

On Friday an Amnesty delegation in Belgrade observed that preparations for the Pride were well under way, with police deployed around the route of the Pride and security fencing being put in place. They also witnessed a demonstration organised by the right wing “family party” Dveri in one of the city’s main squares. Later ultra-nationalists, bearing both religious and homophobic banners, blocked one of Belgrade’s main streets, bringing trams to a standstill in one of Belgrade’s main shopping streets. 

Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director Jezerca Tigani said:

"The Serbian LGBTI community has been let down once again by their government.

“By once again banning Belgrade Pride, Serbia’s government is effectively going against its international obligations to guarantee basic rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly to all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in Serbia.

“It is the government’s job - its obligation - to ensure that peaceful gatherings such as the Belgrade Pride can go ahead without unlawful interference. Sadly, it appears that this government lacks the courage to guarantee such rights.

“The banning of the 2013 Belgrade Pride is another victory for hatred, violence and discrimination, and suggests complete contempt for the European Union, which has repeatedly called on Serbia to ensure the Pride goes ahead this year.”

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