Organizers Confirm Belgrade Gay Pride Parade Planned for October 2
On Friday, organizers of Belgrade's gay pride parade, which provoked violent riots last year, announced plans to hold a new march on October 2.
Jovanka Todorovic, a member of the special organising committee, confirmed the date at a heavily guarded press conference, saying further details would be announced later.
"This morning we officially informed the police of our plans to organise this event," gay rights activist Goran Miletic added.
A dozen police officers stood guard outside the press centre in central Belgrade, with several van loads standing by. Officers in civilian clothes were also present as the activists spoke.
Last week Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Ivica Dacic called for a debate on whether a gay parade should be held this year after riots marred the previous event.
"Without a consensus, I will not send my officers for them to be confronted with violence," he insisted.
Last year's parade, the first in ten years, saw hooligans and anti-gay protesters clash with police in central Belgrade, leaving more than 150 people injured, all but three of them police officers.
The gay activists at Friday's press conference refused to react to Dacic's comments.
They would only say their cooperation with "the institutions that are our partners in organising this event is good".
On Thursday ultra-nationalist organisation Dveri warned that organising a gay pride event in Belgrade could feed social unrest and provoke riots like in London.
They dismissed the gay parade and the money the government will have to spend to secure it at a time of economic difficulties in Serbia as "a provocation".
If the government allows the march to go forward "Belgrade will burn like London burned recently", they warned.
It is possible police could ban the gathering over security concerns but this could be seen as a blow to Serbia's image abroad at a time when Belgrade hopes to become a European Union candidate member.
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