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Serbia: Organizer says Belgrade Pride parade not banned

BY DANIELA COSTA – Goran Miletic, a member of the organizing committee of Belgrade Pride, says that the festival’s parade is still on.

“I can confirm that everything is ready,” Miletic tells Xtra. He says Belgrade Pride will start Sept 30. The Pride march “should be held” on Oct 6 as planned. More than 40 events are planned for the week.

The confusion over the parade’s fate came after United Serbia MP Dragan Markovic announced that the march would be cancelled for “security reasons."

Miletic says Markovic is “very homophobic” and “not relevant at all.”

Last year, Serbia’s interior minister cancelled the Belgrade Pride parade three days before it was to take place. Rightwing groups had threatened to riot throughout the city if the parade went ahead.

Miletic says that danger still exists, but if the parade is to be cancelled, it will be a last-minute decision.

Anti-gay groups are likely preparing to cause trouble, Miletic says, but the police are doing a lot of preventive work. “We have regular meetings with police, and they promise full protection.”

Miletic says the organizing committee has high hopes for a successful parade this year.

The Belgrade Pride parade has been banned most years since it first took place in 2001. In 2010, the parade did go ahead, but anti-gay rioters caused more than €1 million (C$1.3 million) in property damage.

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