Serbian police have arrested six suspected anti-gay extremists in connection with attempts to disrupt a Pride march.

The march, which was to be held yesterday in Belgrade, was cancelled by police over fears of mass violence.

Some of those arrested were found with ski masks and baseball bats.

Riot police were deployed across Belgrade and other cities over the weekend to quell any trouble.

A Pride march was held last year in Belgrade for the first time in ten years but ended in violence as 20,000 people held a counter protest.

This year, reports claimed that extremists were planning to use violence and start fires to disrupt the gay rights march.

Pride organisers were unwilling to cancel the event and accused authorities of giving in to threats.

But human rights minister Milan Markovic told B92 that many people could have been killed.

He said: “It’s far from the truth that the state has capitulated and that hooligans are more powerful than the state, that’s complete nonsense.”

Instead of holding a march, gay rights campaigners held an indoor press conference.