"Elections played role in canceling of gay parade"

Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Origina article: http://www.b92.net/eng/news/polit...amp;mm=10&dd=10&nav_id=76794

BELGRADE -- A week after the Belgrade Pride Parade was canceled, four prominent Belgrade-based journalists took part in a B92 talk show to discussed the authorities' move.

Although they disagreed on whether the parade should have been banned, all four agreed that the decision was above all political, and was influenced by upcoming elections.

"We must bear in mind that the gay parade does not have the support of a large majority in Serbia. The citizens have defeated their political class, which for the first time in the past three years demonstrated that it was afraid of the citizens, and I think that's a victory of sorts," Novi Standard editor-in-chief Željko Cvijanović told Utisak Nedelje (Impression of the Week) host Olja Bećković.

Vreme editor-in-chief Dragoljub Žarković noted that the society was "only capable of organizing itself when some minority group needed to be belittled and threated to be beaten".

"Where's serious rebellion - a rebellion of the citizens against bad living - they're not standing up against the low standard, against being left without apartments, ripped off by the banks, against living worse each day, instead, we're standing up against what - a tiny group of 300 to 400 people who would probably have taken a completely peaceful walk," said Žarković.

His counterpart at the Belgrade-based weekly NIN, Nebojša Spaić. noted that "one of the reasons for canceling the Pride Parade was what is appearing in other socials segments and in other ways, and that is the utter inability of the authorities to deal with any real problem, and constant manufacturing of balloons of media lies and Potemkin villages, while the essential problem of this government is that it has no substance, no ideology."

Association of Journalists of Serbia (UNS) head Ljiljana Smajlović took part in the same program to say that unlike last year, when the government saught to prove it was progressive and capable of organizing a peaceful gay parade, this year it had an eye on elections.

"This year the authorities decided it was more profitable to let the U.S. embassy and Brussels get angry, but to avoid irritating that majority," said Smajlović.

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