It is not possible to do in two days what had to be done throughout the whole year

Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) strongly condemns ban on Belgrade Pride Parade 2011 and believes that this decision of the state authorities is a direct consequence of their failure to act and the fact that they have been ignoring the problem of violence and homophobia in Serbian society in the past year and in previous years also.

If anyone doubted before what is real potential for violence and violent behavior against citizens of this country, it has become clearly visible on October 10th last year when the first Pride Parade was held. However, since then the state has done nothing to deal with hooligans and right-wing extremist groups which still operate freely, spreading fear and hate speech and openly call for violence and lynching.

Therefore, Gay Straight Alliance is not surprised by claims and estimates of the Ministry of Interior and other security structures that the security risk of holding the Pride Parade is high, nor is today’s decision to ban the event. Although the GSA has rightly expected that the state will show the readiness and that Pride Parade will be held this year as planned, it is shown that it is not possible to do in two days what had to be done throughout the year, which is systematic reducing of violence and discrimination and strengthening tolerance for the LGBT population and all other minority groups.

Also, GSA believes that the whole process of organization of the Pride Parade this year and the public debate had little to do with the rights of LGBT persons and improving their status. This process is unfortunately misused by many subjects, mostly for the purpose of obtaining cheap political points, which showed great arrogance and disregard for the real purpose of holding a Pride Parade which is increasing tolerance towards the LGBT population and the reduction of homophobia.

Today’s decision to ban the Pride Parade is a step backwards for the entire LGBT movement and the LGBT population, but also for all citizens of Serbia. However, the biggest setback of its today‚Äôs decition is primarily on the state which has the biggest responsibility to regain the lost confidence of its citizens.

GSA demands that the state and all its relevant institutions immediately prosecute and punish all offenders, extremist groups, organizations and individuals who had previously made threats, mobilised and conspired to commit the offenses of which the authorities have information, and on which the decision was made to ban the Pride Parade.

Only then will the state and its institutions be able to show that they really care about the lives of LGBT persons in our country and that peaceful and nonviolent Parade participants cannot be the same as those that cause and commit violence.

GSA Info Center

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