A group of 25 people were the victims of an “organised attack by fascists” after attending the 5th Queerbeograd festival in Belgrade.
“Police that were patrolling in a side street were there quickly but it didn’t prevent some of the QB participants getting seriously hurt,” the festival organisers said after the attack on Friday night.
“One fascist was arrested. The fascist group consisted of members of Obraz, a clerical fascist group that also organised the attack on the Pride in 2001.”
The locations of Queerbeograd events had not been publicised in advance for security reasons.
The festival website refers to the first planned Pride Parade in Belgrade in 2001, which was blocked “by large group of violent homophobic hooligans.
“Because this violence is a result of politics of war, clericalism, nationalism, militarism and machismo that has been mainstream politics in Serbia during last 15 years.
“Because a second attempt to make LGBTTIQ community and politics visible on streets of Belgrade in 2004 had to be cancelled because organisers again couldn’t guarantee participants’ safety.
“Because the state and citizens are still ignorant toward problems of LGBTTIQ population and all the others who are “Different.”
The festival, which began on Thursday and ends today, has participants from Macedonia, Russia, Netherlands, Germany, UK, Italy, Croatia, Greece and Slovenia.
Serbia, which is not in the EU, is one of the least accepting countries for gay people in Europe.
A European Commission report on human rights in the country published last year said:
“In practice, discrimination is widespread, affecting in particular the Roma community, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities and persons of different sexual orientation.
“There have been incidents and attacks against organisations active in the promotion of peace, the fight against impunity or those defending the right to a different sexual orientation with insufficient follow-up by the law enforcement authorities. “