Europride in Belgrade: a political farce?
The annual Europride took place in Belgrade on Saturday. As the date drew closer the parade was banned by the Ministry of Interior, but when EU representatives intervened an agreement was reached on a considerably shortened route. Commentators voice concern about the role played by Serbia's President Aleksandar Vučić.
Like a bad soap opera
This was a typical gambit for the Serbian president, Jutarnji list comments:
“First Vučić vigorously prohibits Europride, then the Ministry of the Interior confirms this in a way that leaves it unclear whether only the route was banned or the parade itself. Then the Administrative Court rejects the appeal of the Europride organisers, whereupon the government's lawyer says that Europride will be held after all, only that after a very short parade it will be 'directed to a concert area'. If Brussels swallows this story, it must believe even bad soap operas from Venezuela are true. Vučić controls everything. ... The police, the state and the institutions do not exist to protect the people's security and rights, but only to look after his regime.”
Humiliation instead of pride
Der Standard also sees the move as typical of the way Vučić bends the rule of law :
“The political instrumentalisation of Europride in Serbia is an object lesson in the politics of Aleksandar Vučić's autocratic regime. First he created a problem a few weeks ago to divert attention from other issues ... . Then, shortly before Europride kicked off on Saturday, it was banned even though this was illegal. ... The activists were only allowed to attend a concert, enclosed by a police cordon - this was not a Pride but a humiliation.”
A matter of human rights
The Serbian Orthodox Church was one of the loudest critics of Europride, but its arguments are no longer relevant, writes Peščanik:
“Equal rights for women and the fight for the rights of homosexuals and transgender persons pose no threat to the sanctity of the democratic family. The struggle for women's rights and the rights of all discriminated and threatened minorities, on the other hand, is about defending universal equality and human rights that cannot be observed selectively and/or only on paper. By defending the rights of LGBTQI+ citizens, we defend human rights and freedoms in general.”