International News

Thousands march in Belgrade against planned Gay Pride parade

Graham Robson September 12, 2022

Thousands of religious and right-wing activists marched through Serbia‘s capital on Sunday calling for authorities to ban a Gay Pride march planned for this Saturday.

The protesters – who carried a massive Serbian flag – included groups who also shouted slogans backing Serbia’s long-term ally Russia, as well as nationalistic and far-right causes.

A column of bikers who support the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, revved their engines in support of the crowds who marched to Belgrade’s St Sava cathedral for prayers.

In a sermon, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Porfirije, said the EuroPride event threatened traditional family values.

“They want to desecrate the sanctity of marriage and the family and impose an unnatural union as a substitute for marriage,” he told the crowd.

LGBTQ+ and human rights groups have repeatedly said they will march Saturday even if authorities call it off.

Gay sex is legal in Serbia, but same-sex marriages are not allowed and activists say LGBTQ+ people face hostility and discrimination.

Serbian governments have banned Pride parades in the past, and some events in the early 2000s were marred by violence.