BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — A whole lot of Satisfaction activists gathered within the Serbian capital Saturday amid a heavy police presence and anti-gay messages despatched by the nation’s conservative management and far-right teams.

Final yr, the LGBTQ+ occasion was marred by skirmishes between the police and anti-Satisfaction teams who imagine the occasion goes towards conventional Serbian Christian Orthodox values and must be banned.

The members of the march on Saturday held banners studying “We Are Not Even Shut” — referring to the present standing of the homosexual inhabitants is Serbia — in addition to “Marriage” and “Queer Liberation not Rainbow Capitalism.”

A heavy police presence of officers in riot gear blocked off central Belgrade. In a rally towards the march, about 50 anti-gay protesters and Orthodox clergymen held spiritual icons in entrance of a downtown church because the Satisfaction occasion members handed by.

A gaggle of anti-gay activists held a banner on the primary downtown avenue that stated, “I don’t desire a homosexual parade in Belgrade.”

Political Cartoons

Earlier than the eleventh consecutive Satisfaction occasion held in Serbia, the nation’s populist president, Aleksandar Vucic, stated that as lengthy he’s in energy, he would not approve a legislation permitting same-sex marriages or partnerships. He additionally stated that he did not permit rainbow coloured flags to be positioned on flags at his downtown workplace through the march.

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, a detailed Vucic ally, is the Balkan nation’s first overtly homosexual politician. She has, nevertheless, hardly ever spoken in favor of LGBTQ+ rights in Serbia.

Earlier than the Satisfaction occasion, the embassies and consultant workplaces of 25 nations and the European Union delegation in Serbia issued a joint assertion of assist for the values of Satisfaction and urging safety of the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals.

“On the event of Belgrade Satisfaction 2023, we need to reaffirm our dedication to respecting, selling and defending human rights for all,” the joint assertion stated. “We proudly stand with the LGBTQ+ group in Serbia and strongly assist the values that Satisfaction represents — acceptance, inclusion and variety.”

Serbia formally desires to affix the EU, however below Vucic’s greater than decade rule it has steadily slid towards Russia and its anti-Western insurance policies, together with disrespect for the rights of homosexual folks.

Copyright 2023 The Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials is probably not revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.