Truth, Inspiration, Hope.

Protesters March in Belgrade Against Planned Gay Parade

Published: September 9, 2022
LGBTQ activists are seen marching in protest of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic's plans to cancel or delay the EuroPride event slated for Sept. 17 in Belgrade, Serbia. (Image: via Reuters)

Thousands of religious and right-wing opponents of a European gay pride event to be hosted by Belgrade protested through the Serbian capital in opposition of the upcoming EuroPride march, slated for Sept. 17 — an event staged in a different European city each year.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic previously said during a mass protest on Aug. 27 that the city would be cancelled or postponed, citing reasons such as threats from right-wing activists.

The protest against the EuroPride event was held during a procession to mark a religious holiday and was led by clergy from the Serbian Orthodox Church. Some of the bishops say the Pride event threatens traditional family values and should be banned.

Protesters could be seen marching while holding crosses and images of saints, as well as banners reading “Save our children and family”.

Others who joined Sunday’s march chanted slogans in support of far-right or nationalist causes, waved Russian flags, a show of support for Moscow, Serbia’s traditional ally.

Previous Serbian governments have banned Pride parades in the past, drawing criticism from human rights groups and others. Some Pride marches in the early 2000s were also met with fierce opposition and were marred by violence.

Serbian activists: ‘Cancelling EuroPride parade is not an option’

Serbian LGBTQ rights activists said on Thursday, Sept. 8 that cancelling next week’s EuroPride parade “is not an option”, defying a ban imposed by the Serbian president.

“We will not cancel or postpone the parade. We will certainly go out, but I would like it to be a compromise and an agreement with the representatives of the authorities,” a director of the Civil Rights Defenders watchdog, Goran Miletic said.

Serbia wants to join the European Union but has been told it must first improve the rule of law, its record on human rights, root out organized crime and corruption and mend ties with the now-independent former southern province of Kosovo.

(Production: Fedja Grulovic, Malgorzata Wojtunik)