Montenegro Detains 81 After Gay Pride Parade


News
03 Nov 14

Montenegro Detains 81 After Gay Pride Parade

The suspects were detained because police believed that they were planning to attack gay and lesbian activists during Podgorica’s second Pride parade at the weekend.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN

Podgorica

Montenegrin police said after the Pride parade on Sunday, which passed off peacefully, that 16 people had been detained and officers had seized Molotov cocktails, smoke bombs and sticks, while the rest of the suspects were held to check their identity.

Most were released but Montenegrin police spokesman Tamara Popovic said that criminal charges would be filed against two minors.

“Police officers carried out their duties and responsibilities professionally in order to secure the Pride parade,” Popovic told media on Sunday.

Protected by hundreds of riot police, some 200 gays and lesbians and their supporters marched through the streets of the Montenegrin capital, demanding equal rights for sexual minorities and respect for fundamental human rights in the country.

Tight security measures were in place with streets surrounding the march route cordoned off by police.

No violent incidents were reported, unlike last year, when police clashed with hundreds of right-wing extremists and gay activists had to be evacuated.

LGBT activist and parade organiser Danijel Kalezic thanked the police for their protection and said that Montenegrin society had become “little bit more mature”.

The marchers defied condemnation by the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, the most powerful religiuous community in the country, which remains bitterly opposed to gay rights.

A week ahead of the parade, the church’s leading bishop, Metropolitan Amfilohije, called the march “a parade of death and self-destruction.”

Because of these and similar statements, Bishop Amfilohije was declared “homophobe of the year” at the parade.

During the first Pride march in Montenegro in October 2013, more than 500 protesters, mostly football hooligans, hurled rocks and bottles in an attempt to disrupt the march by several dozen gay activists.

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

Surveys suggest that about 70 per cent of Montenegrins still consider homosexuality an illness. Around 80 per cent believe that gay people should keep their sexuality private.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)