Belgrade Mayor: I would ban Pride Parade

Submitted by ILGA-Europe

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BELGRADE -- If a mayor could decide on holding of the Pride Parade, like in other countries, I would not allow such manifestations, Belgrade Mayor Dragan Đilas has said.

He told B92 on Sunday evening that he would not allow gay Pride Parade in order to save “people’s lives”.

“It allegedly aims at showing differences and waking up tolerance, but it always causes the opposite. Xenophobia has increased in Serbia after last year’s parade,” the mayor pointed out.

“If you are a homosexual, that’s your right and nobody should harass you because of it, but you won’t gain anything with a walk,” he said and insisted that it was important to come out with an idea how to make our society more tolerant and expressed belief that the only way to do so was through dialogue and concrete actions.

Đilas stressed that Serbia currently had much more serious problems than the Pride Parade, pointing out that Serbs were unable to walk freely in a part of its territory.

“Today you have a situation that you cannot walk around a formal and official part of Serbia’s territory, in Kosovo and Metohija. Somebody gets killed over there just because they are Serbs and we live with it,” he pointed out and added that it could not be expected to have such situation in one part of the country and completely different in the other.

The Belgrade mayor rejected accusations that the Pride Parade was cancelled because of the upcoming elections.

“Do you really think that somebody out there is thinking whether there will be more votes if the Parade is held or banned, and the elections are in April of next year? That has nothing to do with it,” he explained.

According to him, all those who pose a potential threat to security should be arrested if there is evidence.

Pride Parade Organizing Committee member Goran Miletić said he believed there were threats but that police could have dealt with them.

He stressed that the main problems of the LGBT community were violence, discrimination and their invisibility in the society.

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