Tag Archives: belgrade

German gay rights activist beaten, suffers brain injuries

A German gay rights activist suffered life-threatening brain injuries from a beating in Belgrade, Serbia on Sept. 13.

Authorities said they arrested three people suspected of being involved in the attack on the man, who was attending a gay rights conference in Belgrade.

A spokesperson for an LGBT group in Europe said the attack took place early on the Saturday morning, and that a group of young men beat the man with a glass ashtray. The spokesperson also said the assailants shouted about foreigners.

The man suffered internal bleeding and head injuries that news reports described as serious.

Far-right groups have long promoted anti-LGBT violence in Serbia, where the government has repeatedly vowed to protect human rights in its requests to join the European Union.

The most recent violence led to a pro-LGBT demonstration in Belgrade.

Serbian police ban LGBT Pride parade

Serbia’s police have banned an LGBT Pride march in Belgrade, citing security concerns but also complying with a request from Serbia’s Christian Orthodox church.

Police said they were banning the march planned for Oct. 6 because they feared a repeat of the violence in 2010, when right-wing groups attacked a gay Pride event in Belgrade. That triggered day-long clashes with the police which left more than 100 people injured.

Last year’s gay Pride march also was banned by authorities.

The current ban was announced after Patriarch Irinej, the head of Serbia’s Christian Orthodox church, urged the government to prevent Saturday’s march. In a statement, he said such a “parade of shame” would cast a “moral shadow” on Serbia — a conservative Balkan country whose gay population has faced threats and harassment.

Allowing a gay Pride march this year had been regarded by some as a test of Serbia’s pledge to respect human rights as it seeks EU membership. That was clear in the reaction of European Parliament official Jelko Kacin, who called the ban a “political decision that questions the rule of law in Serbia.”

Secretary-General Thorbjoern Jagland of the Council of Europe, the continent’s main human rights body, said he was “surprised and disappointed” that the Pride event has been banned again.

“Citizens should be able to exercise their rights of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression,” he said. “Serbia should be in a position to safeguard such an event, which is commonplace in modern democracies.”

Amnesty International said the ban puts Serbia in breach of its own laws.

“Serbia’s government is effectively going against its own legal and constitutional protections for basic rights such as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly to all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Serbia,” said John Dalhuisen, the group’s director for Europe and Central Asia.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said in addition to banning the Gay Pride march, the government was barring a gathering of right-wing groups that planned to attack the event. It also canceled several national league soccer matches in Belgrade on Saturday because they often are attended by hooligans aligned with the extremists.

“We believe that at this moment Serbia does not need clashes and victims, and that’s why we banned the gatherings,” said Dacic, who is also the national police chief.

Opposition politicians said the ban showed that authorities are unable to protect freedom and human rights in Serbia.

“No democratic society has the right to retreat from the threats of violence against basic rights,” said Liberal Party leader Cedomir Jovanovic.

1st Serbian gay pride march in years planned

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) _ Organizers are planning Serbia’s first gay pride march in nearly a decade next month _ after the one last year was canceled amid threats of violence by extremists.

Gays and lesbians often face harassment and pressure in predominantly conservative Serbia. Extremists broke up the Balkan nation’s first gay pride march in 2001 and beat up several participants. No gay pride marches have been held since then.

Marchers plan to parade past the Serbian government building on Oct. 10 under the slogan “Let’s walk together.”

Police did not immediately respond to Tuesday’s announcement. A similar event last year was canceled after police said they could not guarantee security from possible extremist attacks.