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Thousands of Orthodox march against the LGTB Europride in Serbia

thousands of faithful orthodox demonstrated this Sunday night in Belgrade in protest against a possible celebration of the europridean event that is held every year in a different European city, despite the decision of the authorities to cancel the big community gathering LGBTQ scheduled for September.

the president of Serbian, aleksandar vucicannounced on Saturday the decision to cancel the planned march as part of the Europride week, after alluding to a “difficult crisis” in Kosovo. “It will happen, but at another happier time,” he said of the event.

However, his cancellation announcement has been challenged by organizers of Europride, which is due to take place from September 12-18, with a week of festivities, events and a Pride parade. “The march will take place as planned, on September 17,” he said. Marko Mihailovićevent coordinator.

Serbia was chosen as the venue for this year’s edition because “its recent history is that of a successful Proud that highlights the need for legislative advances for the people LGBTI+ in Serbia. The Europride in Belgrade will be a historic event that will bring together the Western Balkan community with LGBTI+ people around the world.”

During the march, held during a procession to commemorate a religious holiday, protesters have gathered in front of the Saint Sava Cathedral after crossing the city center carrying icons, crosses and religious flags while praying and singing, according to a photographer from the AFP. Passing by a police-guarded LGBTQ community information center, a group of procession participants have unfurled a large banner reading “Not in the country of Saint Sava.”

Led by clerics of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the tour has been plagued by warnings from the faithful. “Let’s save our children and our family”, it has been possible to read in one of the banners.

Russia, the example to follow

Addressing the crowd, Bishop Nikanor of the Serbian Orthodox Church has welcomed the authorities’ decision to cancel “the desecration of our country, our church and our family”. He has considered “an anomaly” that should be treated as in the Russia of Vladimir Putin, whom he has described as “the tsar of the planet”. “In his country, Putin made the decision that one cannot speak of anomalies that do appear in our country,” the religious leader said, according to images released by the news site. Glas Javanosti.

The bishop has referred to a 2013 law in Russia that punishes with fines and prison sentences any act of homosexual “propaganda”l among minors. He has also said that the faithful are ready to return to the streets and “confront those who intend to destroy the values ​​of Serbia.”

The support for Russia has been seen during the march. Some demonstrators have waved Russian flags, a sign of the close relationship with Moscow, a traditional ally of Serbia, while the Government of Belgrade tries to balance its ambition to enter the European Union with its longstanding ties to Russia and China.

The UN dissatisfied

The ambassador of the European Union in Serbia, Emanuel Giaufret, has criticized Belgrade’s ban on Europride. “We regret that Serbia has announced that it will cancel or postpone the Europride that it had initially decided to organize in Belgrade in September and would appreciate further clarification,” Giaufret said on his Twitter account.

The UN representative added that they will “closely follow the issue”: “We hope that a way will be found to guarantee that the Europride takes place in peace and security.” The European diplomat, previously ambassador to Israel, has asked that the “closest” partners of the European Union respect the Fundamental rights”.

“Europride has been defending the equal rights of LGBTIQ people throughout Europe for many years, giving a voice to those who are often discriminated against because of their sexual orientation”, recalled Giaufret, after emphasizing that the EU “supports equality and rejects any form of discrimination”

“It would go against Serbia’s international commitments on human rights,” he said. Francoise JacobUN Resident Coordinator in Serbia, in a statement.

Related news

Previous Serbian governments have Pride parades banned in the past, drawing criticism from human rights groups and others. Some Pride marches in the early 2000s were also met with fierce opposition and marred by the violence.

Serbian is candidate to enter the EU, but to become a member, it must first meet requirements to improve the rule of law and its human and minority rights record, and must root out organized crime and corruption, as well as repair ties with Kosovo.

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