Belgrade EuroPride 2022 hailed as success despite clash with anti LGBTQ+ protesters

Despite 64 arrests and the injury of 10 police officers in Belgrade, EuroPride 2022 has been hailed as a success by Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić.

The image shows the start of the EuroPride 2022 parade in Belgrade. Marchers are standing behind a banner in front of a rainbow flag which is lying on the ground in the rain.
Image: via Instagram

Despite strong opposition, EuroPride 2022 went ahead in Belgrade on Saturday, September 17.

The parade had been marred by controversy in the weeks leading up to the event after the Serbian police had banned the parade. The ban was announced after thousands of right-wing activists marched through Serbia’s capital on September 11 protesting the Pride celebrations which commenced the following day. 

It also followed President Aleksandar Vučić announcing on August 27 that he was cancelling EuroPride amid threats from extremists and fears over violent clashes between the conflicting groups.

EuroPride 2022 organisers, together with Belgrade Pride, strongly opposed the decision, claiming that they would take legal action against the ban and that the march would happen in Belgrade anyway. Together with All Out, they also delivered a petition with more than 29,000 signatures from 123 countries to the Serbian government to demand the removal of the ban.

On Friday, September 16, the Serbian government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, an openly lesbian woman, confirmed that the march would take place with a shortened route. 

Responding to the news, Kristine Garina, President of the European Pride Organisers Association said, ”We are overjoyed that the Prime Minister has kept the promise she made in 2019 to support EuroPride in Belgrade.” She continued, “EuroPride is a celebration of love, a movement for equality, and part of a global campaign for human rights. It embodies European values and is a threat to no one and certainly not to Serbia.”

While Saturday’s event was widely considered to have been a success with AP News reporting Brnabic as declaring, “this entire week, with more then [sic] 130 (LGBTQ) events, there wasn’t a one [sic] single incident. And that really is the right image of Belgrade and Serbia.”

According to Brnabic, 5,200 police officers were deployed during the Pride march to ensure the safety of participants amid fears of counter-protests. 

According to Pink News, “ultraconservative protesters threw stun grenades, flares and rocks at the march” which resulted in 64 arrests and 10 injured police officers.

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