Over 5,000 Serbian riot police cordoned off central Belgrade for the gay pride march which was held amid fears of attacks from extremists.
Police with dogs secured the zone that was sealed off for traffic for hours before the planned start of the event. Fortunately, no incidents were reported.
Holding banners and rainbow flags, several hundred people marched in the downtown area. “This gathering should become bigger and greater”, said gay right activist Boban Stojanovic. “Belgrade is our city too”.
Serbia has since sought to boost gay rights as part of its bid to join the European Union, including appointing for the first time an openly gay minister in the government that was formed last month.
Ana Brnabic, the minister of public administration and local government, attended march. She said the government will work to improve the position for Serbia’s gays as well as other minority groups, who still often face harassment and discrimination.
Remember Serbian authorities cancelled several pride events since 2010, when more than 100 police and extremists were injured and the city center was demolished after massive clashes with right-wing groups which attacked the gay demonstrations.
Love changes the world, the slogan of this edition