Belgrade Pride building vandalised by anti-LGBTQ+ thugs

A vandalised Belgrade Pride sign, with graffiti across it.

Anti-LGBTQ+ thugs have reportedly vandalised a Pride centre in Serbia, in yet another attack on the queer community in the country.

An unknown person sprayed black graffiti across the window of a Pride information centre in the country’s capital, Belgrade Pride reported on Sunday (19 February).

The LGBTQ+ organisation received a wave of hate from anti-LGBTQ+ Serbians in 2022 after it was selected to host the annual EuroPride event.

The Pride protest takes place in a different, democratically selected European city each year, with past EuroPride hosts including London, Stockholm, Oslo and Amsterdam.

Belgrade’s selection was met with massive protests from far-right and Christian groups, who claimed the event would “desecrate the sanctity of marriage”.

As a result, Serbian officials opted to postpone the event indefinitely, which caused a huge backlash from EuroPride, Belgrade Pride and LGBTQ+ activists.

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It eventually went ahead as planned, but on a different route and with a heavy police presence.

‘Frightening growth of hatred’

In a Twitter thread following the latest attack, Belgrade Pride said it was “witnessing the frightening growth of hatred” and “discrimination” in Serbia.

It also accused the Serbian government of hypocrisy in how it “selectively chooses” what graffiti is deemed harmful, and which is seemingly protected, including “murals with dangerous nationalist messages”.

Serbia’s government and the president, Aleksandar Vučić, have routinely been criticised for their position on LGBTQ+ rights.

Same-sex marriage is banned in the country and conversion therapy practices are common.

Additionally, the World Values Survey reported in 2020 that more than 67 per cent of Serbians believe homosexuality is “not justified” even though LGBTQ+ people have legal protections, and gay men, lesbians and bisexuals – but not transgender people – can serve in the armed forces.

During the EuroPride march in Belgrade in September 2022, several hate groups could be heard yelling: “Kill the f****ts”, while throwing stun grenades at the parade.

Steve Taylor, the communications director of the organisation that organises EuroPride, told PinkNews in 2022 that the city was one of the more difficult in which to host Pride.

“When you look at the development of EuroPride over the years from 1992, it started out with London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Stockholm – it was very safe cities.

“I’ve been involved in the EPOA [European Pride Organisers Association] for seven years and this was by far the most difficult EuroPride I’ve known.”

PinkNews has contacted Belgrade Pride for comment.

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