Banned Gay Pride event criticised

By Charles Maggs

The decision to ban this year's Belgrade Gay Pride march has been condemned by Europe minister David Lidington.

The event was due to take place on Saturday but has been cancelled on security grounds.

It was feared that the event would see a repeat of the violence that occurred in 2010 when far-right groups targeted the event.

"Every government has a responsibility to protect and promote the rights of all its citizens, not least those marginalised by society," the Conservative minister said.

"In banning the 2012 Belgrade Pride Parade, the Serbian government has failed to meet that responsibility."

The Orthodox Church in Serbia had also called for the event to be banned on moralistic rather than security grounds after its head, Patriarch Irinej called the event a "parade of shame".

Amnesty International also spoke out against the ban, believing it to be contrary to the young country's constitution.

"By banning the 2012 Belgrade Pride Serbia's government is effectively going against its own legal and constitutional protections for basic rights such as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly to all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Serbia," said Amnesty International’s director for Europe and Central Asia John Dalhuisen.

The move has also been condemned by the European Union, and the incident won't help with Serbia's application to join the EU.

Serbia currently has candidate status, meaning it may gain full member status in the near future.