Gay Anger in Montenegro Over Banned March


News
07 May 15

Gay Anger in Montenegro Over Banned March

Gay activists expressed dismay after police in Niksic again banned a gay and lesbian march scheduled for Friday – having banned an earlier planned march in April.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN

Podgorica

LGBT organizations in Montenegro have expressed “deep disappointment” after the police banned a planned gay pride march in the town of Niksic.

Citing threats of violence and possible attacks by hooligans, police said that the “Academic Walk of Pride”, which was scheduled for Friday, could not go ahead.

Hyperion, a local NGO, and the LGBT Forum Progress planned to organize the march in Niksic to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, known in the country as the Day of Victory over Fascism, as well as celebrating two years of the adoption of the government’s LGBT strategy.

“It is unacceptable for the LGBT community that freedom of assembly can be provided by the state only in the capital Podgorica, in a district from which it is possible to completely exclude the public,” the organizers of the march said in a statement.

A separate Gay Pride parade, scheduled for April 24, was banned earlier by police in Niksic on security grounds.

The first public LGBT event in Niksic had threatened to attract a significant number of opponents, police said in a statement.

During the first Gay Pride march in Podgorica, in October 2013, more than 500 protesters, mostly football hooligans, hurled rocks and bottles at the marchers who only numbered several dozen people.

Twenty police were injured in the affray, one of them seriously. Among the 60 people detained, a third were under 18.

During the last year’ parade in Podgorica, however, no violent incidents were reported as some 200 gays and lesbians and their supporters were protected by hundreds of riot police.

Homosexuality remains a hot issue in the socially conservative country, as it does elsewhere in the Balkan region.

Some surveys suggested that 71 per cent of citizens in Montenegro consider homosexuality an illness, and every second citizen agrees that homosexuality is a danger to society and that the state should work to suppress it.

The Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, the most powerful religious community in the country, remains firmly opposed to gay rights. According the same suveys, 67 per cent of citizens believe the Church’s stand against homosexuality is correct.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)