Serbia: Gay Pride Parade Postponed

Gay Pride Parade 2009, which was scheduled to be held in the center of Belgrade on September 20, has been postponed by organizers.

A few days ago, press service of president of Republic of Serbia published the president’s statement on his official site. This statement was issued because of numerous and serious threats to LGBT population by football fans of Partizan and Red Star teams, as well as by members of some neo-Nazi groups. Below is an excerpt:

[…] The government will do everything to protect citizens, regardless of their ethnic, religious, sexual or political orientation, because no group […] should take justice into their own hands and endanger the lives of those who think differently or are different.

In Serbia, “the Constitution, laws and public order and peace, respect, and any attacks on the army, police, journalists, officials and other citizens will not be tolerated, and all legal measures will be taken against the perpetrator.”

Only one day later, police chief Milorad Veljovic issued a statement in which he explained that it had been appraised, on the basis of security assessment by the ministry of internal affairs and other security services of the Republic of Serbia, that gathering in Belgrade’s downtown is extremely risky and could menace public order and peace in Belgrade.

The Organizing Board of Pride Parade did not agree to change location of the gathering. On that occasion, the board published the statement and described its decision. Here is an excerpt:

[…] Although in the police decision it was recommended that the event is moved to another spot such as Usce [the mouth of Danube and Sava] or the space in front of palace “Srbija”, it is absolutely clear the parade has been banned. Despite the high-ranking officials’ support statements that all social groups, including LGBT community, can liberally express their own attitudes in public places, these are only words, while nothing is actually being done.

The officials of the Republic of Serbia have formally admitted in this decision that the state is not able to adequately prevent and punish threats by clerical-fascistic organizations. Also, the state is not able to provide the rights for citizens that belong to them according to the Constitution. […]

[…] The state has failed a fundamental examination. It should be expecting a repeat examination. Very soon. The Republic of Serbia has surrendered but we haven’t.

On Saturday, September 19, ultra-nationalistic organization “1389″ (the group's name refers to the Battle of Kosovo, which took place in 1389) issued a statement and “E-novine” web site published it. Among other things, they wrote:

We consider that it is a big victory of normal Serbia and citizens against threats and forces. […]

[…] As it was announced, Activists of the Serbian Popular Movement 1389 and movement “Nazi“ will gather on the plateau in front of the Philosophical faculty tomorrow at 8 am and take part in the event called “Absolutely unviolent popular all-Serbian Party of sexual not deviant persons.”

We are calling citizens to massively come in Belgrade’s streets tomorrow in order to make sure that non-believers and satanists will not walk the streets of our city.

This statement and the police decision provoked a lot of reactions, not only by LGBT population, but also by the Serbian public. Bloggers also reacted to both of them.

Jasmina Tesanovic wrote:

As far as I can see at B92 news, members of clerical-fascistic group “1389” have walked along the Knez Mihajlo street, gathered on the plateau and visited Sveti Sava church. Also, last evening the victory of Serbia’s basketball team was celebrated over Belgrade’s streets with hysterical shouting “Serbia, Serbia” and raised three fingers.

And we, forbidden and invisible and whatever, but not Serbia, are sitting under the deck of a boat which is sinking.

Today at 11, it could be October 6, but not 1389. However, the time is neither linear nor progressive. I am just asking myself how Belgrade was in 1389. Probably not as violent and stupid. The time is for Belgrade steampunk revolution!

Srecko Sekeljic wrote:

[…] Serbia’s Executive, personified by its Prime Minister, and the security services, personified by the police chief, put an acknowledgment on paper that they have no control over the streets of their country's capital. For that time, minister of internal affairs and vice-president of the government, Ivica Dacic, have run away from country until things calm down. […]

[…] This acknowledgment was followed by the shocking allegations about the beating of foreign residents in the center of Belgrade. […]

Krugolina Borup expressed her attitude with harshness and irony:

What kind of government are you if you were not able to protect 500 people. Don’t tell me that you couldn’t paint in pink 500 bullet-proof vests, helmets and gas masks and distribute to us madmen, only in the country who was courageous to resist tyrants.

What kind of government are you if you didn’t have in your mind to stand in the front row, all of you 25 or so, because this stopped to be an issue about Pride Parade a long, long time ago and turned into the parade of the fight against violence. […]

At the end of her post, she turned to Zoran Djindjic, former Prime Minister and president of the Democratic Party, who was killed in 2003 by the mafia which was supported by some politicians who were disguised as Djindjic’s political partners, according to respectable number of famous persons, ordinary citizens and political parties, because he wanted to settle accounts with them and lead the country to the European Union as soon as possible:

Oh my Djindjic… these successors of yours… they've betrayed both you and me. As you said: “If someone thinks that he will stop putting into effect the laws if I am killed, then he deceives himself because I am not the system. The system will keep on functioning and nobody will be amnestied for their crimes even if one or two officials would be killed.”

Oh, my Djindjic… they killed and defeated you, my dear. These sissies, not only they don’t represent a system – they've never heard about it. They are afraid to be killed, as you were killed, if they stand in the front row of the Pride column. Sissies, sissies, sissies!

Krugolina finished her post with bitter and sarcastic verses of a famous Serbian author Djordje Balasevic, who supported democratic revolution in Serbia from October 2000:

Go Europe, don’t waste time on us.
Don’t ask too much, you will get too bad a reputation.
Go planet, we had a great time together.
We are fine, just like we deserve.

Krugolina Borup wrote this in her other post related to the cancellation of the Gay Pride Parade:

News: Serbian Popular Movement 1389 sent a mass e-mail to all Belgrade’s media editorial offices that it will pay for photographs of participants of the Pride Parade. They have intention to publish them, so that the parents could recognize sexually deviant persons and protect their children from their impact.

In this post, Krugolina posted her own picture in response to “1389” and wrote that from now on, she was a lesbian, too.

Nebojsa Spaic wrote:

The country is:
1. weak and helpless
2. totalitarian and repressive
3. stupid and unable
4. frightened
5. nationalistic and conservative
6. all of the above

President Tadic doesn't think so. He said this about the cancellation of the parade, among other things:

This has been a misunderstanding in the public and the wrong interpretation. Serbia, as a country, will never recede before the perpetrators and those who threaten […]. The state has offered the safest possible conditions for holding pride parades and Serbia will, like any other European country, insist on the protection of human rights of all its citizens, many times I said, regardless of their national, political, religious or sexual orientation. […]

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