Police prepare for feared violent attacks on Serbian Pride in Belgrade
Police in Serbia have cordoned off areas of central Belgrade for this year’s Pride parade amid fears that attacks from extremists may take place.
Thousands of police lined the streets today in Belgrade for fear that the parade would be attacked.
As well as police on the ground being deployed hours in advance of the demonstration, helicopters hovered over the downtown area of the city.
Previous parades have been cancelled, and the four years leading up to 2014 saw the parade banned after violent clashes took place between extremists and police.
Back in 2014, hundreds of people took part in the first Belgrade Pride parade permitted to go ahead in four years.
The previous time police allowed Belgrade Pride to go ahead was 2010, when it was marred by violent stand-offs with far-right extremists. 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.
The 2014 parade was also called off in June of that year, instead due to flooding in the capital, but is finally going ahead this afternoon.
The former Yugoslav Balkan country, is still conservative on LGBT rights.
Homosexuality only became legal nationwide in 1994, an there is still no recognition of same-sex relationships.
Same-sex marriage remains constitutionally banned.
Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić earlier this year appointed an out gay politician to his cabinet, in a historic first in the conservative country.
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