Serbia’s sixth Pride walk started Sunday evening in downtown Belgrade with participants waving rainbow flags and carrying banners stating their determination not to give up on their rights as police arrested five people at a counter protest who got into a fight with officers securing the parade.
Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic - the country’s first ever openly gay political leader - walked along with hundreds of participants who held banners that said “I’m not giving up,” “We are not deciding about your marriages,” or “I will not be silent.”
The parade passed by Serbia’s state institutions with the intention to draw the attention of authorities to the problems the LGBT+ community faces.
Prior to the walk, about 150 opponents blocked the intersection between King Alexander Boulevard and Takovska Street in downtown Belgrade, where LGBT+ activists were expected to march.
Police clashed with the opponents and arrested five men.
That crowd displayed a cross, Serbian flags, and banners saying "Immorality and gay shame never again in public life" and "Orthodox Serbia is not being conquered by war but internally by EU, Vatican and NATO pawns."
While police put up barricades between the Czech Embassy and the Constitutional Court building, participants of the protest first had a verbal altercation and then several of them clashed with the officers.
According to one of the organisers, Goran Miletic, Pride participants will not change their route, which was agreed on with the police.
The Pride Parade was announced months ago while the counter-gathering was not reported to authorities at all, he said.
Miletic added that he expects the event to pass as expected and that the route is longer this year than in previous years. He also said that it seems more people are attending than before.