Serbia: Belgrade Pride cancelled due to flooding

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Belgrade Pride, which is usually banned due to threats of violence, was instead this year cancelled due to flooding.

The event, which often leads to confrontations between anti-gay groups, police and marchers, has been officially banned every year since 2010.

The 2010 parade was marred by violent stand-offs, and around 100 people were injured at the event, as extremists threw petrol bombs at the police and gay rights activists.

The event has been cancelled every year since, with the 2011, 2012 and 2013 parades all being banned by authorities over fears of violence

However, this year’s event broke the cycle – and was cancelled over flooding instead.

Martin Lunnon wrote for Amnesty International: “This year’s Belgrade Pride – due to take place at the end of May, was cancelled because of floods.

“Some people, like one former UKIP councillor a few months back, may see this as a sign of god’s wrath at homosexuals flaunting themselves.

“I can only say that Australia, where Sydney Mardi Gras is one of the biggest flauntings in the world, is experiencing a severe drought, and San Diego, where gay surfers go to frolic in the waves, is suffering bushfires.

“Belgrade pride being cancelled because of floods is rather a change to its fate in previous years. On several occasions the march has been cancelled because of the threat of violence.

“Belgrade pride is currently part of Amnesty’s ‘prides at risk’ programme that provides security and planning advice for organizers of prides in hostile environments, plus a monitoring team to observe pride marches.

“This year Amnesty was seeking to support prides in Belgrade and Kiev. Belgrade pride has been cancelled for reasons beyond the control of local activists and Amnesty, and the outlook for Kiev is uncertain because of the situation in Ukraine.

“I was in Kiev on holiday last week, and met local Amnesty activists there, who still don’t know if a pride will go ahead.

“Although Belgrade Pride was not to be, Amnesty will be at London Pride (and others in the UK) to show our support for activists speaking out for LGBTI rights in places like Serbia and Ukraine.”