Man destroys tribute to 18-year-old trans girl during candlelit vigil after death in Serbia

An edited image of a man walking across a vandalised candelight vigil in Belgrade.

An individual has been filmed ripping up a trans flag placed at a memorial in Serbia dedicated to an 18-year-old trans girl who was found dead.

Pro-LGBTQ+ mourners were left stunned and disgusted after the assailant, who has yet to be identified, marched across to the memorial on Republic Square in the capital Belgrade, stomped on several flowers and ripped up the flag.

A hastily organised vigil was held after news broke that 18-year-old Noa Milivojev, who had been reported missing on 17 June, was found dead in an apartment in Cara Lazara Street, on Thursday (6 July).

Police officers attending the scene reportedly arrested a man in connection with the death.

In a Twitter thread, organisers said a candlelight vigil would be held at 9pm to honour Milivojev’s memory, inviting pro-LGBTQ+ mourners to attend. They also expressed their deepest sympathies to her family and friends, who had been campaigning to find her.

Hundreds gathered at the vigil, with many placing candles, flags, flowers, and other messages of support for the trans community.

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But, after the crowd had dispersed, Belgrade Pride shared the recording of a man stomping on the flowers and attempting to tear up the trans flag.

According to local news source N1, the individual was later joined by other passers-by who destroyed the candles and flowers on the steps.

Several commenters responding to the recording by arguing that his actions were representative of Serbia’s view on LGBTQ+ people as a whole.

Serbia has had a troubled relationship with LGBTQ+ issues recently. EuroPride’s decision to host its annual Pride parade in Serbia last year resulted in controversy, with several protest marches by right-wing groups – involving thousand of people – taking place in September, in anticipation of the Pride protest, even after it was postponed by president Aleksandar Vučić.

It eventually took place but involved the heavy presence of riot police to hold back members of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

In February this year, a community centre with a Belgrade Pride graphic was vandalised. In response, the organisation accused the Serbian government of allowing a “frightening growth of hatred” and “discrimination” in Serbia.