EuroPride 2022: Serbia will not host event, says president

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    The EuroPride parade, scheduled for September in Belgrade, according to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, will not take place.

    After tens of thousands of people demonstrated against the event earlier this month, Mr Vucic made his declaration.

    Although the president expressed dissatisfaction with the choice, he added that Serbia needed to focus on other problems, such as the unrest in Kosovo.

    The march will still take place, according to the organisers, and any restrictions would be “illegal.”

    Since 1992, a different European city has annually hosted the global LGBT pride parade.

    At a press conference, Mr Vucic announced that this year’s festival, which was supposed to take place between September 12 and 18, would be “postponed or cancelled” due to “recent tensions with its former province of Kosovo” and problems with food and electricity.

    Marko Mihailovic, the organiser of EuroPride 2022, responded that any attempt to halt the event would be “clearly in violation of the constitution” and that “the state cannot cancel EuroPride.”

    The event won’t be cancelled, according to Kristine Garina, president of the organisation in charge of obtaining the licence for EuroPride.

    She continued by saying that Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, who is out lesbian and is Serbia’s first female and LGBT PM, promised full government support during the country’s candidacy for EuroPride 2022, and she expects “that promise to be honoured.”

    With posters reading “to defend the family” and “keep your hands off our children,” thousands of people protested EuroPride earlier this month in Belgrade.

    The event has been denounced by extreme right-wing organisations, and the Bishop of Banat Nikanor of the Serbian Orthodox Church has claimed he will “curse all those who organise and participate in something like that.”

    According to the organisers of the event, Serbia’s hosting of EuroPride was “a crucial step toward attaining equality for the LGBTI+ community in the Western Balkans.”

    To obstruct a Gay Pride march in Belgrade in 2010, anti-gay protestors engaged in ongoing combat with police. Four years later, the march was back and well guarded.