Ban on Pride Violates Fundamental Right

On Friday the Serbian authorities decided to cancel the Belgrade Pride parade, which was planned to be held on Sunday. Belgrade’s Mayor refused to support the Pride and on Friday the Interior Ministry banned all public gatherings scheduled for the weekend, due to threats from extremist right-wing groups.

The ban on Pride is a real backlash for human rights and means a step forward for the nationalist groups in Serbia. When the parade was banned by the police the pride organizers announced that they would respect the decision, although it violates the fundamental right to assembly.

“We didn’t want not invite people to the streets when the parade was banned, but the decision is inconsistent with the law on gathering of citizens.There was no political will to support Pride and the government was not ready to protect the participants despite the fact that they are able to do so, said Goran Miletic,” Programme Director for the Western Balkans at Civil Rights Defenders.

This is the fourth time that Pride has been planned in Belgrade. In 2010, police protected participants against more than 5,000 violent counter-demonstrators and damage to property was estimated at more than €1 million. In 2009, the Pride march did not take place after the authorities refused to provide security at the last moment following threats from right-wing groups.