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Serbia: Gay Pride Parade Used as Excuse for Riots

Gay Pride Parade held on October 10, 2010, in Belgrade brought out the worst and the best elements of Serbian society in the open. The police had to suppress about 6,000 rioters who, in a very organized manner, wrecked damage of at least EUR 1 million in the city center, while pro-democracy forces hailed the event as a big advance for the freedoms of speech and association, guaranteed by law.

As reported [MKD] by Macedonia Gay Blog-Magazine, at least the legal part of the event was a success:

… The second Gay Pride Parade took place in Belgrade, with over 1,000 marchers. The event was a success because it passed peacefully, under heavy police guard… [After the parade was over] around 6,000 hooligans used it as an excuse to demolish buildings, rob stores and destroy public infrastructure.

The Parade started at noon, but the tensions started rising from 10 am. The hooligans’ rage culminated after 1 pm. They burned the entrance to the building housing the seat of the ruling Democratic Party. At one point, after the demonstrators breached the police cordon, an anti-terrorist unit had to intervene. A public bus was burned, and trams attacked… Hooligans failed to directly attack any of the marchers.

Serbian president Boris Tadić condemned the attacks and announced that the perpetrators of violence would be arrested indiscriminately. According to him, an attack on the police equals an attack on the state, which is ready to deal with the vandals who endanger the citizens’ security. He stressed that Serbia protects the rights of all citizens regardless of their differences.

During the day, the state media announcements kept repeating that over 60% of the arrested rioters were not locals, but had been brought from other places in Serbia in an organized manner. In various ways commentators complained of the present levels of unchecked hate among the youth, and hinted or openly blamed reactionary nationalist forces which relied on football hooligans to form the core of paramilitary units during the Milošević regime. In total around 140 persons were injured, mostly policemen, and the police detained over 200 suspects.

The social media hero of the day [SRP] was the policeman Saša Čordić, 26, who was captured on video telling off a rioter [loose translation] “How dare you to wreak havoc to my Belgrade! Get the fuck out of here!”

The video was instantly reproduced in several copies, with hundreds of thousands views. A Facebook page based on the quote [SRP] very quickly gained several thousands of fans.

Another social media hit was the column “Open your mind!” by turbo-folk star Jelena Karleuša, first propagated by Twitter users such as Slobodan Markovic, who described [SRP] it as “brutal.”

In the column [SRP], which won praise on FB by liberals who usually consider turbo-folk reactionary, the singer asks when will “millions of Serbs stop allowing a handful of human excrement to portray their people as savage and stupid.” She candidly wrote about confronting the homophobic attitude of her footballer husband, a self-proclaimed typical Serbian macho man, by exposing the hypocrisy and double standards in regard to heterosexual and homosexual relations, as well as refusing to continue to take part in sexual acts deemed “unnatural” by such traditionalists, but required within their marriage.

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