MEPs condemn Belgrade attack on gay rights activist

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

MEPs have condemned an attack on a tourist in Belgrade who was visiting an LGBT rights conference.

A 27-year-old German man whose name has not been released to the press, was hit over the head with a glass ashtray in the Serbian capital on Saturday after attending a conference hosted by LGBT group Labris.

It is thought that he was set upon by men who screamed about “foreigners” in Belgrade, and suffered “life-threatening” internal bleeding and head injuries from the incident.

Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić condemned the attack. In an official statement he underlined that “the state will do everything to protect and respect the right to non-discrimination.”

The attack turns spotlight on the situation for LGBT people in the candidate EU Member State.

The last three years LGBT prides were systematically banned by authorities. Furthermore, violence against LGBT people, as well as other minorities, is still widespread.

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-President-designate of the LGBTI Intergroup, said: “I am appalled by this violent homophobic and xenophobic attack. However, I am glad to see that the police reacted so quickly: The same day all three suspects were arrested and a protest march against the attack was well-protected by police forces.”

“I encourage Serbian authorities to continue this path and stand up against violent hooligan groups attacking minorities and undermining the rule of law.”

Daniele Viotti MEP, Co-President-designate of the LGBTI Intergroup, added: “Political leaders have finally shown leadership by univocally condemning this attack and stating they will do everything to protect LGBTI people from violence and discrimination.”

“Implementation remains key, however. I expect authorities to develop an approach to more effective inclusion of the LGBTI population and to give its explicit public support to this year’s Pride march, planned for 28 September.”