Serbian police clashed with anti-LGBTQ+ protesters during EuroPride’s march in Belgrade.
Over the last few weeks, the highly anticipated event faced numerous roadblocks from the country’s government.
On 29 August, Serbian President Aleksander Vučić shocked the European LGBTQ+ community after cancelling the EuroPride march without warning.
“The Pride parade that was scheduled for the month of September will be postponed or cancelled, or whatever that miracle is called, it doesn’t matter.”
Shortly after the announcement, EuroPride representatives ensured that the parade would still go ahead despite government pushback.
However on 13 September, the Serbian police backed up the president’s cancellation when they announced their own ban on the parade’s route – which they said was due to “security concerns.”
“The Serbian Police banned this year’s EuroPride March, by handing over the official notice to the organisers,” EuroPride said in a Twitter statement.
“Belgrade Pride will use all available legal means to overturn this decision. Expect more information soon.”
On 17 September, hours before the event was set to take place, the Serbian government gave EuroPride organisers the go-ahead to proceed with the march.
While the parade was a success amongst the thousands of LGBTQ+ attendees, local reports revealed that Serbian police and far-right groups were involved in violent clashes.
— EPOA • EuroPride (@EuroPride) September 18, 2022
According to a report from Reuters, 64 anti-LGBTQ+ protesters were arrested during the event – which resulted in 10 slightly injured police officers.
“I am very proud that we managed to avoid more serious incidents,” said Ana Brnabic, Serbia’s first openly gay Prime Minister.
In the days leading up to the Pride march, far-right groups and religious organisations voiced their opposition to the event by hosting hateful protests.
Aside from the violent interactions and pushback from anti-LGBTQ+ groups, the EuroPride parade saw support from over 20 European officials and diplomats – including MEP Vladimir Bilcik and US Ambassador Christopher Hill (per DW).
On 18 September, EuroPride president Kristine Garina reflected on the monumental event in an inspirational statement via the EuroPride website.
“EuroPride in Belgrade will go down in history as a turning point for LGBTI+ equality in Serbia and the wider Western Balkans region,” she wrote.
“We showed that Pride is not a threat to anyone, and whilst we marched peacefully, it was the far right, nationalists and fundamentalist Christians who battled police.”
Check out photos from the EuroPride march below.
Nothing is more powerful than celebrating Pride with the love of your life.
We took to the streets for freedom, for democracy, for equality and for love.
— Terry Reintke (@TerryReintke) September 17, 2022
Proud to walk with fellow diplomats today in support of diversity, inclusion, and respect for the rights of all citizens. Congratulations to @BelgradePride, @CRDEurope and all of 🇷🇸 on a safe, successful #EuroPride2022 that affirms 🇷🇸‘s European future. pic.twitter.com/Xtq2f0icVi
— Ambassador Christopher R. Hill (@usambserbia) September 17, 2022
Despite the threats and despite the rain, we marched today in Belgrade for the #EuroPride2022.
— Mélanie Vogel (@Melanie_Vogel_) September 17, 2022
EuroPride Tag 6: Outfit Check
Love ❤️ 🏳️🌈🇷🇸🇪🇺 pic.twitter.com/ediCTFcEyO
— Beyondi (@beyondvodka) September 17, 2022
AND WE’RE MARCHING!
VICTORY FOR SERBIA, EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY!@EuroPride has trumped hate
— Rémy Bonny 🏳️🌈🇪🇺🇺🇦 (@RemyBonny) September 17, 2022
Left Belgrade with lots of beautiful memories. We marched successfully and we celebrated love! 🦄
It was the first #EuroPride in this region and so happy it went well, despite all the challenges.
— Giorgi Tabagari (@Tabagari) September 18, 2022
— Elli Luukkainen (@elliluukkainen) September 17, 2022