Serb authorities prohibit gay pride parade

Pedestrians walk past anti-gay graffiti on a wall in a Belgrade street on September 30, 2011.

Story highlights

  • Police cite safety concerns as reason for prohibiting Sunday's event
  • Stones and Molotov cocktails flew at 2010 gay pride parade
  • The parade was cancelled in 2009 after anti-gay graffiti
Authorities have stopped a gay pride parade scheduled for Sunday in Belgrade, according to Serbian police.
Violence has plagued the parade in years past, at times precipitating its prohibition or requiring heavy police protection.
The interior ministry banned Sunday's Belgrade Pride Parade, citing possible "obstruction of public transport, endangering health, public moral or safety of individuals and properties," in a statement from the Belgrade Police Department.
Beograd parada ponosa, the parade's organizer, posted the statement on its website without commentary. The organizers may issue a complaint against the decision, according to the statement dated September 30.
In October 2010 petrol bombs and rocks flew at the parade, after authorities allowed it to go forward with express public backing from the interior ministry.
A police presence of 5,000 strong that year -- which guided the way for 1,000 marchers -- took the brunt of the attacks, which injured 40 officers, according to the interior ministry. Sixty people were arrested in the wake of the anti-gay violence.
In 2009 authorities disallowed the parade after a wave of anti-gay graffiti, news reports at the time said. A gay pride march in 2001 -- thought to be the country's first -- was attacked, resulting in some injuries.