Europride vows to hold Belgrade march despite ban

Organisers refuse to give up the protest for LGBT rights

08 September, 17:03

    (ANSAmed) - BELGRADE, SEPT. 8 - Europride will be held Sept. 17 in Belgrade as had initially been planned, even if Serbian authorities were to uphold a ban on it, organisers say in stressing that they will not agree to give up the protest for LGBT rights.

    "We have decided to hold the march as planned since there cannot be a Europride - or any Pride - without a march. We are thus insisting on holding the march," Goran Miletic, one of the organisers, said at a press conference.

    "I believe that the interior ministry will not decide to keep the ban, in the end. But even if that were to be the case, we will hold the march all the same," Miletic added, underscoring that in any case the organisation is not in favour of any sort of conflict and that it instead is seeking a compromise solution through talks that would ensure the security of all those taking part.

    Miletic did not give any indication about how the talks are going that have been underway for several days with the government to find a solution on Europride.

    The event was planned for Sept. 17 but President Aleksandar Vucic and the government have banned the event, saying that the difficult situation that Serbia is in - with the return of tensions in Kosovo and a serious energy and food crisis - is the reason for the decision.

    Miletic said that a final decision on Europride should be made during a session of the National Security Council that Vucic will be chairing on Saturday in Belgrade.

    He added that none of the foreign and international representatives who had announced their presence at the Europride in Belgrade had annulled their plans after the ban on the event was announced by the authorities.

    Among them, Miletic said, are 15 MEPs, the Belgian deputy prime minister, an EU Commissioner, and the human rights chief of the Council of Europe.

    "We are Serbian citizens who intend to make use of our freedom of assembly," Miletic said, urging everyone to take part in the Europride march on the afternoon of Sept. 17.(ANSAmed).

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