After Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić announced that the Europride parade in Belgrade would be “postponed or cancelled”, MEPs have urged him to reverse the decision. “Prides was and remains an important tool for the visibility of the LGBTQI community,” said 145 MEPs in a letter. Vučić should let the parade “take place as planned” in mid-September.
Europride is a major pan-European event of the LGTBQI community, organized in a different European country every summer since 1992. This year Europride was to take place from September 12th to 18th in the Serbian capital Belgrade. The demonstration is scheduled for September 17th.
The European parliamentarians, including German members of the Greens, SPD, Left and FDP, also called for enough security forces for more security at the parade. “We are aware that the security of the demonstrators is threatened,” but a ban on the event “is not the right solution,” the letter continued. Violent counter-protests at Prides are “unfortunately not new”, which is why the police should “react efficiently and sufficiently”.
Vučić had pointed at the weekend to security concerns over recent tensions between Serbia and Kosovo. His openly lesbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, who had taken part in the Belgrade Pride several times in the past, also backed the president and stated that stabilizing her country was currently more important than holding the parade. She said: “We need all our capacities to maintain peace and stability.”
The Pride organizers are still sticking to the date. The demonstration has not yet been officially canceled either, because the President is not responsible for it, but the Ministry of the Interior. His decision is still pending. If a ban were to be imposed, the Pride team said they would file a legal appeal. (AFP/Qsp)