After one of the ruling parties in the capital asked the organisers of Bosnia’s first Pride Parade to reconsider whether to hold the event since it may worsen the security situation, the LGBT activists reiterated in a Saturday press release that the event will take place on September 8, that there is no justification for banning it and that they will not let "political maneuvering" prevent them from exercising their rights.
“We will not let politicalmaneuvering stop us from achieving our goal to enable LGBTI persons to exercise their right to a peaceful gathering and to push the institutions to behave more responsibly towards all citizens,” the organisers said.
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 People and Justice Party (NiP), which is in the ruling coalition in Sarajevo Kanton 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,” one of NiP’s top officials, Ibrahim Kerla, said on Friday.
Bit according to the organisers, "there is not a single credible reason why this country and this society should fall behind the rest of the region in any respect, including the holding of pride marches."
"The support we have received from citizens, both in the public and the private spheres, in the past five months has shown that this is a common struggle and that the BiH society is indeed ready to accept and support LGBTI persons,” the organisers said.
They stressed that they “received unequivocal assurances from both the Cantonal Government and the police that they are capable of providing adequate protection.”
They also reminded of past rulings by the Constitutional Court which determined that the “LGBTI persons had been denied freedom of assembly in the Sarajevo Canton.”
“A groundless ban of the BiH Pride March would constitute a violation of the Sarajevo Canton Law on Public Gatherings, and provide a basis for legal action which would likely result in more sanctions against the Sarajevo Canton Government,” they said.
The LGBT activists also argued that police and the Sarajevo Canton Interior Ministry have “repeatedly demonstrated that they have the professional capacity and resources, as well as sufficient knowledge and experience to oversee the security of events that are far more complex than the BiH Pride March,” examplifying it with "sports events and concerts to large commercial events as well as the Sarajevo Film Festival."