Serbia has announced that EuroPride will no longer take place in September.
For 30 years, EuroPride has been lauded as the biggest Pride celebration in Europe.
Since 1992, the beloved event has been hosted in various metropolitan cities, including London, Madrid, Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Paris, and Manchester.
In addition to the traditional Pride format, the weeklong festival also includes larger-than-life opening and closing ceremonies, an HIV vigil, a human rights conference and an array of activities.
Back in 2019, Belgrade, Serbia, secured the coveted hosting duties of EuroPride after a landslide vote.
“This event will be of substantial importance when it comes to promotion of the respect of human rights of the LGBTQ+ community and all citizens of Serbia,” said the country’s lesbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić at the time.
However, in a massive blow to the European LGBTQ+ community, Serbian President Aleksander Vučić announced that the event would no longer move forward – which was set to take place from 12 to 18 September.
“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,” he said on 27 August.
Vučić also cited tensions with Kosovo, economic uncertainty, and threats from anti-LGBTQ+ extremist groups as part of the decision to cancel EuroPride.
“This is a violation of minority rights, but at this moment, the state is pressured by numerous problems,” he said (per ABC News).
“It’s not the question of whether they (extremists) are stronger, but you just can’t do it all at the same moment, and that’s it. I’m not happy about it, but we can’t manage.”
Over the last few weeks, anti-LGBTQ+ protests and religious officials protested against the forthcoming event – with some even threatening violence against the community.
In response to Vučić’s announcement, President of the European Pride Organisers Association Kristine Garina issued a statement confirming that the event will still move forward.
“Neither the hosts of EuroPride 2022, Belgrade Pride, nor us as the licensor will cancel EuroPride in Belgrade,” she said via the EuroPride website.
“The right to hold Pride has been ruled by the European Court of Human Rights to be a fundamental human right. Any attempt to ‘ban’ a Pride is a breach of Articles 11, 13 and 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights, ratified by Serbia as a member of the Council of Europe.”
Garina also condemned the anti-LGBTQ+ groups and individuals opposed to the inclusive festival before stating that they’re using “tired old tropes, inaccuracies and downright lies to discredit” the event.
“EuroPride in Belgrade will not be cancelled and will bring together thousands of LGBTI+ people from across Europe with LGBTI+ people from Serbia and the wider western Balkans,” she continued.
“It will bring many millions of Dinar into the local economy, and allow Serbia to show that it is on the road to being a progressive, welcoming European nation. What Serbian authorities must do is stand firm against these bullies, and protect the event.”