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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Bashers Disrupt Serbian Pride, Police Just Look On
by MichEle Marie Bonnarens
2001-06-27

This article shared 1405 times since Wed Jun 27, 2001
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Chanting "Death to Homosexuals!" a violent mob of mostly young men attacked anyone thought to be taking part in Serbia's first Pride celebration in Belgrade June 30. Hundreds of soccer hooligans, skinheads and other assorted extremists were given free reign by the police to bash between 40 and 50 participants, often egged on by bystanders, according to reports.

In a scene of bloody chaos, with national and radical party flags waving and cries of "Faggots are Serbia's shame!" and "God's garden has everything and we've come to weed it out!", the seriously outnumbered victims pleaded for assistance, but the few police who were present remained on the sidelines, themselves filling the air with homophobic remarks such as "Why should we protect them?" or "They are getting what they deserve!"

Eye-witnesses report that the police only began to react when they themselves became targets of the mob.

Several days before the violence, posters reading "Prevent the spreading of Christian immorality and a perverse orgy" were seen plastered throughout the city, and Pride organizers had reported a number of threats to disrupt the festivities to the police.

"The police have managed to prevent protests of more than 100,000 citizens against the former regime, but they couldn't protect some 30 of us," said Milan Djuric, coordinator of the Center for the Promotion and Development of LGBT Rights in Belgrade.

On June 29 the USA pledged financial support to Serbia, conditional upon compliance with international human rights standards. Activists are urging readers to write to the Serbian Minister of the Interior, as well as to U.S. government officials, protesting the events of June 30 and requesting that policies be put in place that ensure such human rights violations do not occur again. Letters should be addressed to: Mr. Dusan Mihajlovic, Minister for Interior Affairs, Vlada Srbije, Nemanjina 11, 11000 Belgrade, Yugoslavia.


This article shared 1405 times since Wed Jun 27, 2001
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