Montenengro’s first gay pride held; demonstrators attack parade and police

On 24 July, dozens of hooligans and anti-gay-demonstrators shouted ‘kill the gays’ at the first ever gay pride parade in Montenegro coastal town of Budva. Eggs, stones and bottles where hurdled at around 40 participants in the parade mostly arriving in a police escorted bus from the capital Podgorica.

A heavily secured area with a special police cordon could not prevent participants in the parade from getting injured. After a smoke grenade was thrown at the assailants, in an attempt to disperse them, they also attacked the officers with objects.  In the end the participants were evacuated by a boat.

Local support

The violent groups are mostly headed by football hooligans. One of the assailants has been identified as Montenegrin professional boxer, Nikola Sjekloca. During the parade, an increasing number of local residents, tourists and people sitting in bars turned against the pride.

Reactions

Police Assistant Director Nikola Janjusevic said the police were undertaking all measures to ensure the safety of the participants.

Pride organiser,  Aleksandar Zevkovic of the LGBT Forum Progress said one day prior to the event that ‘this is a good chance to test the political will, the capacity of the Police Administration, and the LGBT community itself’.  After the event Zevkovic stated that one day we will feel a shame of how people reacted to the pride, thanking the police because if ‘they were not here, we would have been lynched’.

Human Rights Minister, Suad Numanovic, supported the event and send a representative to attend the rally.

Former Minister for Human and Minority Rights, Ferhad Dinosa, was accused of homophobic remarks and subsequently lost his position in government in late 2011.

The last attempt to organize Montenegro’s first Gay Pride by rights activist Zdravko Cimbaljevic, should have taken place on 31 May, 2011 but was cancelled quickly after two attacks on gays in Podgorica before the event even started.

 

Sources: TheNewsTribune, B92, BalkanInsight, ABCNews, Volkskrant, Vijesti

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