EuroPride Parade in Belgrade banned by Serbian police

MEP Maria Walsh has called the event’s cancellation a “violation of basic human rights”.

EuroPride Belgrade flags.
Image: Twitter: @Norway_Belgrade

The 2022 EuroPride Parade due to take place in Belgrade on Saturday, September 17, has been banned by Serbian police as of September 13. However, Belgrade Pride, organisers of the event, are determined to make the march go ahead as scheduled.

Updating followers on Twitter, the organisation explained: “The Serbian Police banned this year’s EuroPride March, by handing over the official notice to the organisers. Belgrade Pride will use all available legal means to overturn this decision.”

In separate posts, Belgrade Pride also tweeted a series of powerful quotes, such as, “Human rights are not a matter of negotiation,” accompanied by the date of the EuroPride Parade.

EuroPride itself published a separate post, saying the ban is “a total failure of political leadership in Serbia,” adding that it was working on alternative solutions.

The news comes 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 follows 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.

In light of the set backs, Kristine Garina, President of the European Pride Organisers Association, said: “Police have waited until the last possible moment to ban the EuroPride march. Every time this has happened in Belgrade before, the courts have ruled the decision unconstitutional.

“The first ever ban on a EuroPride march cannot be allowed to stand and I have no doubt the court will take the same stance this time.”

She continued: “I demand that [The Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabic] explains why she has utterly failed to keep the promise of support she gave in 2019 when Belgrade was bidding for EuroPride.”

EuroPride is the biggest Pride celebration in Europe, hosted in a different city across the continent each year. In 2019, members of the Organisers Association chose Belgrade, the first city in Southeast Europe and the first outside the European Economic Area, as the 2022 host in hopes that the decision would represent a breakthrough for the country that is traditionally conservative and strongly influenced by the Orthodox Church. 

Speaking on the recent development, MEP Maria Walsh has called EuroPride’s cancellation a “violation of basic human rights”.

Walsh, who is the Vice President of the LGBTI+ Intergroup in the European Parliament, is due to travel to Belgrade this week to attend various events, and she explained that organisers will “submit a formal complaint to the police to overturn the decision, and have further warned that the ban is futile.

“I stand firm with them on this. Thousands of LGBTI+ people and their allies have already arrived in Belgrade to take part in EuroPride, and at this point, the plan is that everyone will gather on Saturday, even if we cannot march.

“I will march among them,” she added.

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