A top official from one of the ruling coalition parties in the Sarajevo Canton (KS), People and Justice (Narod i Pravda, NiP), called upon on Friday organisers of the upcoming Pride Parade to cancel the event because it may negatively affect the security situation in the city.
LGBT activists planned for Bosnia’s first Pride Parade to take place on September 8, causing widespread discussion within the country on whether it should take place or not.
The Parade was met with strong support from the liberal Nasa Stranka (Our Party, NS), but was also met with opposition by the conservative Bosniak Party for Democratic Action (SDA).
The NiP, which is in the ruling coalition together with Nasa Stranka, now opposes the event.
“We advocate for rule of law, tolerance and coexistence among all different peoples, but we oppose organising an event which will not improve but may worsen the entire security situation in Sarajevo and wider,” said one of NiP’s top officials, Ibrahim Kerla.
“Without denying the rights to freedom for every individual in every sense, we call upon the organisers of the Parade to take into account that a large majority of Sarajevo’s citizens oppose it, as it is contrary to their traditional values and their religious beliefs,” he said.
“We call upon the organisers of the parade to take into account that the freedom of a person is limited by the freedoms and rights of another person,” he added.
Kerla also called upon the intelligence agency and security agencies at all levels of government to conduct an analysis of how the event may affect the security situation.
The SDA immediately issued a statement calling the NiP “hypocritical.”
“The statement by the People and Justice party, in which it calls for cancelling the Pride, represents the pinnacle of hypocritical populism and a slap to the intelligence of citizens,” the SDA said.
“We remind that it was specifically the People and Justice party, which through their Internal Affairs Minister Admir Katica, approved the organisation of the Pride Parade, which was confirmed at a meeting between minister Katica, KS Prime Minister Edin Forto and organisers of the Parade on July 26, 2019,” it said.
“The SDA has from the beginning been opposed to holding the Pride, and when we called for cancelling the event, People and Justice minister Katica has, together with Forto, expressed full support for the Parade and guaranteed it would be held,” the party said.
The SDA called upon NiP to “clear the issue up” with their coalition partners, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Nasa Stranka (NS, Our Party) - “who identify with the Parade as a promotion of values they advocate for.”
“Anything except for that will represent another attempt by NiP to avoid responsibility for its own decisions in the public perception,” the SDA said, adding that NiP “says one thing but does another.”