The first LGBT community centre to open in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, has become the target of surveillance by nationalists who claim they are out to protect the neighbourhood from “prostitution”.
Balkan Insight reports that right-wing group SNP NASI has pledged to obtain evidence of criminal activity taking place at Belgrade.
The group specifically claims they will find evidence of “prostitution”, which they will pass on to the police.
SNP NASI said in a statement: “Because of the fear for children [in the neighbourhood] because of the people coming to the centre and because of the risk of infection, SNP NASI will help to close the LGBT centre where prostitution is organised.”
Gay rights activist Predrag Azdejkovic said SNP NASI members should be arrested for acting as “a para-police organisation”.
“I do not know what they imagine they are, but this country there is the police and the police examine [such cases],” he said.
SNP NASI claimed the initiative had been started by residents of Kraljice Natalije Street, where the LGBT centre opened earlier this month.
Residents offered the use of their houses to SNP NASI, to use as bases from which to keep the centre under surveillance.
Earlier this year a Serbian court made the country’s first ruling for discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation, awarding 180,000 dinars (£1,322) to a plaintiff who was physically abused, threatened and insulted by his colleague.
Last October, the country’s Prime Minister Ivica Dacic announced that a planned Pride event had been banned for a second year running, because of security concerns. UN officials urged the Serbian government to reconsider the ban.