balkans / pride / serbia

Opinion: The cyclical farce of Serbian gay pride

(Source: Balkan Insight)

Not for the first time, the government is trying to have it both ways – pleasing extremists by banning this year’s Gay Pride, and pleasing the EU by pledging it can go head next year.

By Christian Axboe Nielsen, BIRN, Denmark

On 27 September 2013, the Serbian government announced the cancellation, for the second year in a row, of the Gay Pride Parade, which had been scheduled for the following day.

As in earlier years, government officials cited security concerns as the reason for their decision.  Although many observers had expected the ban, suspense had been created until the last moment, as the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs, MUP, had on 24 September issued a positive “security assessment” for the Parade.  And, on 26 September, the Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Ivica Dacic and the Deputy Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vucic, had stated that the Parade could go ahead.

The hesitation and the last-minute decision speak volumes about the Serbian government’s untenable desire to straddle two chairs.  Simply put, the government wishes to affirm its patriotic and conservative credentials to its own constituents, while simultaneously demonstrating to the European Union and the United States that the government has not abandoned the path of reform. International pressure was brought to bear.

The ambassadors of 14 countries sent a letter to Prime Minister Dačić, noting that a peaceful Gay Pride Parade would be a step forward for Serbia.  A number of ambassadors and representatives of the EU had also declared a desire to participate in the Parade.

(Read the full article here).



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