Serbian Prime Minister attends Pride march for the first time
The Prime Minister of Serbia has marched in Belgrade’s Pride parade for the first time ever.
Openly lesbian PM Ana Brnabic joined hundreds of LGBT+ activists on the streets of the Serbian capital.
Parts of the city Pride route were cordoned off by riot police to prevent clashes between right-wing groups protesting the event.
Brnabic told reporters that she wanted to partake in the march to signal a move towards a more diverse Serbia.
“The government is here for all citizens and will secure the respect of rights for all citizens.
“We want to send a signal that diversity makes our society stronger, that together we can do more,” she added.
Although extremist groups gathered with protest banners no incidents were reported.
Serbia held its first Pride in 2001 but rallies were met with violence.
Since then, Pride parades have always been organised but not always carried through.
In 2010, over 100 people were injured at Pride as right-wing groups clashed with police trying to protect those marching in Pride.
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Pride has been held routinely since 2014 and activists said this years event was by far one of the most relaxed in recent years.
Goran Miletic, one of many LGBT+ activists at the parade, said that Brnabic partaking in the event was important but that issues surrounding equality in the country still needed to be resolved.
“Today we walk together and together we will stress that problems still exist and that we want to work together to solve them,” Miletic said.
The election of Brnabic signalled a move towards Serbia competing for membership in the European Union.
Brnabic is one of few country leaders who are openly gay or lesbian.