The gay pride successfully maintained in Belgrade

The first gay pride after four years, with large security and a few minor incidents, was maintained. With over a thousand participants, there were the mayor of Belgrade, politicians from the government and the opposition, diplomats and many public figures.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said that the Pride showed that Serbia respects the rights of all.

Ambassador Michael Kirby, and the head of the EU office in Serbia Michael Davenport also walked with the participants. There were also German Ambassador Wilhelm Heinz, British Ambassador Denis Keefe and the Australian ambassador Julia Finch. Ministers Ivan Tasovac, Jadranka Joksimovic and Kori Udovicki, then mayor of Belgrade Sinisa Mali, as well as Serbia’s chief negotiator with the EU, Tanja Miscevic, were there as state officials. As party officials, there were representatives of the opposition Democratic Party and the Liberal Democratic Party. Among the assembled members of the Democratic Party, there were Goran Jesic, Borko Stefanovic, Balsa Bozovic i Gordana Comic, Cedomir Jovanovic with his wife, represented Liberal Democratic Party. There were dramaturg Biljana Srbljanovic, director Purisa Đorđevic and actress Mirjana Karanovic, and also, in the crowd was a film director, Srdjan Dragojevic, a member of the Socialist Party of Serbia.

The march started around 12:45 am in front of the Government building and went to Knez Milos and Srpskih vladara street, and half an hour later they arrived at the Belgrade City Assembly, where the 14 speakers held speeches. Event was completed when one of the organizers, Boban Stojanovic, kissed with his long-time partner with the message:

“In the end, we give you a kiss that will allow you to see that it is not a big deal”.

Goran Miletic, on behalf of the organizers, said that it was good that the walk was maintained:

“We are here. This is a good day for Serbia. Everything went all right. It is a pity that people could not see it, that it is not a big deal” said Miletic for “Studio B”.”

Ombudsman Sasa Jankovic expressed satisfaction on the fact that gay pride, symbolic walk that draws attention to the problems of LGBT people, was maintained without major incidents in Belgrade and called for an end of discrimination against them.

The USA ambassador in Serbia, Michael Kirby, said that in America there are different views on the issue of maintaining Pride too.

“I came to support human rights, in this case LGBT rights. In the world, human rights are very important, freedom of speech, of expression, freedom of the press and media. So, I only support human rights and especially this group.”

Head of the Negotiating Team of Serbia, Tanja Miscevic, said that it makes perfect sense to maintain the gay pride, despite the fact that it is secured by thousands of police officers:

“It is important to take a walk, it is important to show and give a picture to the world that we can do it in the best way – the government and its police and citizens of Serbia, to respect the rights of minorities, the right to be different.”

The gay pride is significant because the Constitution and laws provide freedom of assembly and diversity, and Belgrade has shown that there are differences and that he accepts them, said the vice president of the Democratic Party Borisalav Stefanovic:

“Every citizen of Serbia always need to, in accordance with the Constitution and laws, be with the minority. Especially if that minority is risk, or it feels so. This country absolutely has to provide the right to be different.”

Amnesty International said that maintained gay pride in Belgrade represent a victory for the LGBT population in Serbia and their supporters who were peacefully fought to express their right to assemble and to express opinions. Amnesty praised the Serbian authorities for keeping control of all the counter-meetings and several incidents. However, as warned by international human rights organization, Serbian authorities now have to pay attention to the “very visible discrimination and violence” against LGBT people in the society. Belgrade, consider Amnesty, must seriously concentrate on the fight with hate crimes against LGBT people and the protection of human rights defenders in Serbia.

The British Foreign Office has congratulated Serbia for the successful gay pride in Belgrade, and the Serbian government for creating appropriate conditions for maintaining the first such event since 2010.

„The Serbian government deserves credit for creating the conditions to maintain the Parade, after the last three years Pride was prohibited for safety reasons, and did not shrink back because of the threats of intolerant minorities,” said Lidington.

“This is a positive signal for Serbia ahead of the opening of Chapter 23 in the accession negotiations to the European Union, which says that Serbia is committed to the values ​​of the membership in the EU,” said the British minister.

The gay pride parade in Belgrade received also international attention. Numerous representatives from European countries were present at the parade and held speeches. The Head of the EU delegation Michael Davenport stated that “this march is an important step in the protection of fundamental human rights in Serbia that all people must enjoy, including the LGBT population”.  He regards it as a clear message that Serbia respects fundamental human rights and furthermore praised the efforts on part of the government like the launching of the National Anti-Discrimination campaign run by Commissioner for Protection of Equality.

Also German MP Volker Beck attended the march and was pleased to see it finally happening after four long years. He highlighted the special importance of the event for Serbia as a country, in which the church and some politicians are fueling an aggressive homophobic atmosphere.  He expressed that the realization of the parade sends the message that democracy and human rights are stronger than fascism and violence.


Radio Slobodna Evropa



Vesti – online

Glas Amerike


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