Serbian President says Gay Pride 2014 will happen
After calling a halt to the 2013 gay pride event in Belgrade over the weekend, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic has said 2014 Pride celebrations will go ahead. Nikolic said under the Serbian constitution, all Serbian nationals have a guaranteed right to demonstrate.
Nikolic blamed the cancellation of the pride event on the organisers, suggesting there was not enough consultation between stakeholders to ensure the safety of the public at the march. Nikolic said everyone from security agencies and media to non-governmental organisations and international institutions should have been involved in preparation.
"We should begin preparations for the next year's parade today," Nikolic said on Monday.
Serbia has come under criticism from the EU for banning the pride event and Nikolic is not pleased.
"We now have a situation where a less significant event [the banning of the Pride march] may jeopardise [Serbia’s] European trip," Nikolic said.
Michael Davenport, head of the EU delegation in Serbia, told Gay Star News the ban would have an impact on the European Commission's report on Serbia's progress towards joining the bloc.
This is the fourth time the pride event has been cancelled in Serbia. Previous pride festivities planned for 2009, 2011 and 2012 were also banned when police suggested they could not guarantee the safety of marchers from attack by right wing militants.
Serbia held its first gay pride march in 2001.