Rightwing groups say they’ll be trouble on Belgrade streets if a Pride parade, scheduled to take place this weekend, is given the official go-ahead.
As Pride organizers await the imminent release of a security assessment of the event, the groups held a press conference to denounce the parade and said they’ll be staging counterprotests to the Sept 28 event.
According to the news portal, Balkan Insight, Ivan Ivanovic of the rightwing "Naši" warned that a repetition of 2010 street clashes, during which several police officers were injured, could be in the cards.
"People are deeply unsatisfied, and are telling us that they will go onto the streets in vast numbers to protest. If that happens again, we all know that Belgrade streets will see bloodshed, and that's in no one’s interest," Ivanovic says.
He added that criminal charges against the Gay Pride organizers had been filed with Serbia's Constitutional Court, but so far he hadn’t received a reply.
"Behind this [parade] are the embassies of Holland, Germany and Norway, which shows that someone feels it is in their interest to undermine our constitution, laws, and above all our Orthodox religion and our culture," Ivanovic continued.
"Although we have nothing against them [gays and lesbians], we do not want them on the streets, spreading LGBT propaganda.”
Like Russia, Ivanovic says his organization has pushed for a “gay propaganda” ban but has not been able to convince any members of parliament to propose such a measure.
Another rightwing activist, Milica Djurdjevic, argued that annual conflicts over Pride parades diverted attention away from Serbia’s “real social and political problems.”
Pride organizer Goran Miletic says he hasn’t had any update about the security analysis, and believes it will “stay that way until the end.”
“The only thing that can happen, if there is a ban, is for us to be called in to sign the ban,” Miletic says in a report on InSerbia Independent News.
“It all comes down once again to political will and the possibility to decide at the last moment that something is supposedly not right,” he says.
Mladen Obradovic of the banned rightist Obraz movement says if authorities permit the Pride event, they can’t prevent rightwing gatherings organized for the same day, the Balkan Insight report says.
Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic is expected to make a final decision about the Pride parade based on the conclusions of the security assessment.