Belgrade Pride: Serbia’s first safe pride event

The Serbian capital saw its first successful LGBT pride parade unfold under heavy police protection yesterday. Marije Cornelissen MEP attended the parade, and comments on the events of the day.

Marije Cornelissen MEPCommenting after the pride parade, Marije Cornelissen declared herself “really happy that the event itself was a success.”

We stood in the square, we heard great speeches (including from EU Ambassador Vincent Degert), we cheered and walked as everyone felt very safe.

It’s awful, however, to see the intensity of the riots in other parts of the city where extremists used the LGBT pride as an excuse to clash with police forces. I’m very sorry for the wounded, especially among police forces who made sure pride marchers’ safety remained their priority.

I hope that Serbian authorities will look upon the gay pride as a success for democracy and freedom of expression. The same riots happened when Kosovo declared its independence, and they regularly take place around football matches too; it was in no way specific to the LGBT pride event that day, and I do hope Serbian society looks upon it this way.

President Tadić’s statement is a welcome reassurance that pride marches will become a part of the Serbian political landscape in the long run.

The Intergroup had previously issued an open letter of support for Belgrade Pride.