Rocks and bottles were thrown by dozens of anti-gay protesters at Montenegro’s first ever pride event on Wednesday.
Extremists chanted: “Kill the gays”, as they threw an assortment of objects at several dozen pride attendees. They challenged special police who had been deployed to secure the event in the coastal down of Budva.
During the attack, police intervened and pushed back the extremists, allowing the event to go on as planned. The pride parade marched by the sea, and stopped to hold speeches, but the extremists shouted insults from the distance.
Speaking to the Associated Press, an organiser Aleksander Zekovic said: “Unfortunately, in 20 years of transition Montenegro has not matured enough to tolerate differences.”
The first person in Montenegro to publicly declare that he was gay, back in 2010, was Zdravko Cimbaljevic. He also attended Wednesday’s rally, and said some LGBT activists were injured.
He said: “I expected opposition but this attack is actually the real image of Montenegro.”
The government of Montenegro, a country with a population of 600,000 people, known for its respect for traditional values, expressed support for the event, and called for tolerance.
Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, said: “Today is an unfortunate day for Montenegro. A group of LGBTI citizens exercised their fundamental right to assembly and publicly express themselves peacefully. Unfortunately other citizens employed violent methods to deprive their compatriots of this basic right.
“Montenegro is an EU candidate country. The Montenegrin authorities fulfilled their duty to guarantee the right of assembly to LGBTI activists and their supporters.
“However, the events of today clearly demonstrate that despite some positive progress in laws against discrimination, there is a huge need for education and awareness raising to be done by the Montenegrin authorities in order to cultivate and promote the basic principles and values of the European Union among its citizens, the principles of diversity and respect for human rights.”
Predrag Boskovic offered his backing for the Pride parade after meeting representatives of ‘Queer Montenegro’, a gay rights organisation.