Gay parade in Belgrade "could be held indoors"
BELGRADE -- Belgrade Pride organizing committee member Bojan Stojanović has announced that, should the gay parade be banned, its participants would not go to the streets.
Instead, they will hold the event "indoors", Stojanović announced on Tuesday in Belgrade.
The parade is planned for October 6, and if the authorities ban it, the day will see "certain events" organized throughout the day, he explained.
"Should the parade be banned, we will make an announcement on Saturday, October 6, but will not take it out to the streets," Stojanović noted.
Earlier on Tuesday, the organizers held a news conference to say they would "not sit idly" in case the parade is banned.
The authorities are yet to make their decision on whether to give the gathering a green light, with PM Ivica Dačić stating on Monday that if the risk of violence associated with the event is deemed too high, the parade would be banned.
United Serbia (JS) party and its leader Dragan "Palma" Marković asked the government, and those who will make the decision, to ban the parade, as they believe that rights of gay persons are not endangered, and that they "should not be parading in the streets".
Marković added that "this is a very serious moment for Serbia", and that a bad image should not be created for the world, "considering that our country is to be given a date for EU membership negotiations".
Conservative movement Dveri made an announcement of its own to say that they would "do everything to stop the parade using non-violent, civil disobedience methods", and that this also applies to other events that have been announced by Belgrade Pride organizers - which the movement says will "provoke a majority of Serbia's citizens in the most crude manner".
Committee makes appeal
Serbian Parliamentary Committee for Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality appealed on Tuesday to the public, authorities and institutions to take all measures to ensure the protection of life and safety of all participants in the Pride Parade.
The Committee called on the people to refrain from violence so that activities aimed at promoting LGBT rights may pass in the spirit of tolerance, it was announced from the Serbian parliament.
The Committee members' stand is that all citizens are entitled to the protection of human and minority rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, and to the right to assembly and protest.