Gay Pride was held in Budva, but there is still a lot to be done to promote equal rights for all citizens

Coalition for Equality STEP logo

Coalition for Equality STEP, comprised of eight NGOs from, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo, strongly condemns acts of physical violence committed by groups formed in order to sabotage the first Montenegrin Gay Pride parade “Sea Side Pride” held on 24th of July 2013 in Budva, which was held in an atmosphere of hate speech directed towards the participants of the Parade.

Around 400 police officers were placed in Budva, during the parade, in order to protect the participants of the event, and the broader town center was closed for traffic. STEP coalition, states with regret that from the beginning the participants were stoned, bottles and other objects were thrown at them by hooligans from nearby bars as well as other by citizens, which represent open acts of violence, and a proof that the Montenegrin society still fails to cope with a high level of homophobia.

We wish to compliment the conduct of the deployed police forces which managed to, despite violent outbursts, ensure that the Parade was held (although quite briefly), and had apprehended perpetrators of mentioned acts. Moreover, attendance of representative of several political parties, institutions and human right activists helps to raise consciousness of the fact that every form of discrimination and exclusion of any group in society leads to disablement of entire society’s growth.

STEP coalition also compliments successful efforts of Montenegro and its police forces to, regardless of protests, ensure that the Parade is held. We stress that the Serbian authorities have gave in to public pressure, banning the Gay Pride Parade in the last minute (2009, 2011, 2012) and by doing so violated LGBTs constitutional freedom of assembly.

STEP coalition once again commends the colleagues from LGBT Forum Progress on bravery in everyday struggle for improving the position of LGBT population, because despite the unfortunate way in which the events unfolded, this is an important step for LGBT rights improvement in Montenegro. In that context, we request that the Montenegrin authorities to do a security assessment for LGBT Forum leader Zdravko Cimbaljevic, who was the victim of serious hate outbursts before the Parade, and to conduct necessary measures in order to protect his life and constitutional rights and freedoms.

This statement is supported by: Lawyers Committee for Human rights (YUCOM), Belgrade Center for Human Rights, CHRIS Network for Human Rights (Serbia), Fond for Humanitarian Law Kosovo, Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Kosovo, Center for Civil Education (Montenegro).

On behalf of the STEP coalition,
Milan Antonijevic
Project Coordinator

 

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