Belgrade Gay Pride ban a blow to Serbia’s EU hopes

The third ever Belgrade Pride parade took place last Saturday behind closed doors in the city’s Media Centre, due to a last minute ban imposed by authorities. The move attracted widespread international criticism as a violation Serbian citizens’ constitutional right to freedom of expression.

Last Wednesday, only three days before the long-planned march through the city, Prime Minister Ivica Dačić announced a blanket ban on all public gatherings set for 6 October, citing “security concerns“.

“Pride parades are a litmus test for freedom and human rights adherence in Europe”, said Swedish Minister for EU Affairs, Birgitta Ohlsson — heavily implying is was a test Serbia had failed. She was due to deliver the keynote speech at the parade during her state visit to the country.