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.
We are gathering for the historic #EuroPride2022 in Belgrade! The day has come, we walk! pic.twitter.com/atqKPg8BZT
— Civil Rights Defenders Europe (@CRDEurope) September 17, 2022
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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