Saturday, September 26, 2009

Serbia seeks to ban extremist groups after threats forced the cancellation of Belgrade Pride

Serbia's public prosecutor has asked for two far-right groups to be banned after their threats led to the cancellation of a gay pride parade in Belgrade last weekend, an official said on Friday. The last public event staged by LGBT activists was in 2001 and it ended in violence and dozens of injuries.

Reuters reports:
Serbian authorities withdrew approval for gay activists to hold a rally in central Belgrade last Saturday after soccer hooligans and the extremist groups Obraz (Face) and Association 1398 threatened to attack the parade. "The two groups were identified as those which must be outlawed immediately," prosecutor Slobodan Radovanovic told B92 television. Under Serbia's criminal code, groups promoting violence on national, religious or racial grounds are liable to prosecution and imprisonment. "In the future we will seek a ban of all extremist and far-right organizations," Radovanovic said. Earlier this week Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said the 2009 Pride Parade was a high-risk event that could have led to days of rioting.