A gay pride march in Belgrade, Serbia turned violent on Sunday when 6,000 right-wing, anti-gay rioters descended upon the crowd with Molotov cocktails and stun grenades, ultimately leaving 140 hurt and 200 arrested.
5,600 riot police were on hand to battle the rioters, who screamed “death to homosexuals!” as they tried to break through security cordons, set fire to cars, hurled bricks through windows, resulting in $1.39 million in damages. Police were forced to rely on tear gas to restore peace.
Political analyst Miljenko Dereta explained:
“This was undoubtedly a political message, an attempt to destabilize the country and this government. The rioters had political support.”
However, President Boris Tadic was left undeterred by the extremist actions, and maintains:
“Serbia will guarantee human rights for all its citizens, regardless of the differences among them, and no attempts to revoke these freedoms with violence will be allowed.”
Democratic Party spokeswoman Jelana Trivan continues:
“These riots obviously have nothing to do with the gay parade or any moral values. These are hooligan gangs which must be punished severely.”
Luckily, Belgrade’s streets are covered with security cameras, and Senior Justice Ministry official Slobodan Homen claims that many of the rioters have been identified and arrested, and could face up to eight years in prison!
As devastated as we are to learn that this despicable and barbaric behavior occurred due to bigotry and hate, we have to applaud the Serbian government for handling everything with such commitment and integrity!
Your support in such an important cause is truly appreciated!
Equal rights for ALL! It’s happening, whether you like it or not!
[Image via AP Images.]