Gay rights activists have called off Sunday’s planned pride parade in Belgrade after the Serb authorities requested the event be moved amid security concerns.
Ultranationalists and football hooligans had threatened to attack those taking part. The cancellation comes just hours after President Boris Tadic had vowed to protect the march. Majda Puaca of the organising committee is furious: “ Serbia has bowed to threats from a number of violent groups. Therefore the state by its decision to hold the march somewhere else, on a field near the Palace of Serbia, has rendered the parade useless, without meaning or sense.” The move casts doubt on Serbia’s determination to become a more open society following a bloody recent history. In 2001, the only gay pride event to take place in the capital, was ambushed by nationalists, which left dozens of marchers and police injured.