Equality commissioner, parade organizers react to ban
BELGRADE -- Equality Protection Commissioner Nevena Petrušić has stated that a decision to ban the gay Pride Parade shows a high level of homophobia in Serbia.
“The decision also represents that the state is not ready to protect the constitutional right to peaceful assembly and freedom of speech,” she added.
The Serbian authorities decided to ban the Pride Parade on Wednesday.
The Pride Parade organizers also say that the decision to ban the parade shows that the state has succumbed to the pressure of hooligans and violence.
“The ban at the same time shows how high the level of homophobia is in Serbia and how little has been done all these years to promote the rule of law and the culture of peace and tolerance,” Petrušić noted.
According to her, the decision represents a culmination of years of hatred and intolerance toward LGBT population, wide-spread violence, threats and serious discrimination.
She underscored that LGBT organizations greatly contributed to building of an open and tolerant society where differences were respected and appreciated.
Petrušić said she was aware of devastating consequences of irrational hatred and intolerance toward homosexuals.
She expressed readiness to together with competent bodies and civil society organizations continue to continuously and persistently work on promotion of human rights, root out prejudice about LGBT population and build a society where everybody would have the same rights without any discrimination.
Pride 2012 Organizing Committee member Boban Stojanović stressed that the same ban had happened last year and that the problem with hooligans and violence was the same.
According to him, the problem is “how to fight against violence in the future period”.
“The biggest problem is not that we will not be able to go for a walk on October 6 but how we will fight against concentrated violence during the entire year,” Stojanović said.
He added that the Pride Parade “will somehow be marked” despite the ban.
“We still have not decided how it will be done. We will notify the public in detail at a press conference tomorrow,” Stojanović explained.
However, he believes that the decision to ban the Pride Parade has showed that the state is not capable of protecting its citizens from hooligans and thugs.
“The question is what we will do with all that accumulated violence and aggression,” Stojanović concluded.