Serbia: Gay parade to be banned in case of security risks
BELGRADE -- Ivica Dačić has said that the police would ban the holding of the Belgrade Pride parade if they believe that there would be security risks involved.
The Serbian prime minister, who also serves as interior minister, addressed the issue on Monday in Belgrade, to add that the decision would not be made by the government, but by the Interior Ministry (MUP).
He also noted that the gay parade, planned for October 6, "has already been marked as a high risk event in some appraisals".
Dačić further told reporters that he had asked the security services to give their appraisal regarding the holding of the parade as well as the other gatherings announced for the same day, and revealed that the answer he received was that the risk was "high".
He also accused organizers of the parade, "and other associations that are against it", of "acting irresponsibly".
"If there will be content (during Belgrade Pride Week) that associates Jesus Christ with homosexuals, I don't know how that will help with everything going peacefully," said the prime minister, and, according to reports, "recalled the protests in Muslim countries caused by the film about Mohammad".
Dačić added that "the atmosphere is not good", and stated that the issue at hand did not concern human rights, but security.
The MUP is tasked with guaranteeing security for all participants and citizens, he noted.
The PM and interior minister also said that those threatening to prevent the holding of the gay parade "wished to take the job of the state into their own hands", and told them that "this will not be possible".
Conservative movements Dveri and Naši announced that they would gather in Belgrade on the same day as the planned gay parade.
Belgrade Pride organizing committee member Goran Miletić called a news conference in Belgrade on Monday to say that the parade had been reported to the police in a timely manner, and that "brigands in the streets should not determine who has the right of assembly":
"We support the statement of First Deputy PM Aleksandar Vučić that Serbia should not be a brigand state, and if that is the case then brigands in the streets should not determine who has the right of assembly, and who does not."
According to Miletić, "if Serbia is a country of law and order, Pride Parade will be held".
"We are not happy about the fact that it is the security services who will be deciding on the holding of what we have called '970 steps toward freedom'," he added.
Miletić stressed that there was cooperation with the police when it came to organizing and securing all gatherings that will be held this week leading up to the parade.
The police were on Monday securing Miletić's news conference, inside and outside the Media Center building in Belgrade.