Serbia: Orthodox Church attacks ‘shameless’ Pride parade

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The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church has attacked the “shameless” organisers of Belgrade Pride.

Patriarch Irinej, the head of the country’s Christian Orthodox Church, attacked the organisers of the parade “and their mentors from Europe”, claiming they haven’t learnt their lessons from previous parades, which have been violently disrupted by far-right groups.

According to Associated Press, he added that “a great majority” are against this weekend’s event being held, and that “thousands of policemen will have to be brought to Belgrade” to police it.

This month, a 27-year-old German man was hit over the head with a glass ashtray in Belgrade, after attending a conference hosted by LGBT group Labris.

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, while this year’s parade was postponed due to flooding.