Serbian police force thousands of LGBT people to disperse on streets of Belgrade after clashes with hooligans

Serbian police force thousands of LGBT people to disperse on streets of Belgrade after clashes with hooligans

Belgrade police clash with hooligans during Pride march

Jurica Čanak, center, and other members of the LGBT community march along Omlačka Street in Belgrade, Serbia, June 30, 2018.

Binaca Radojica/Reuters

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Belgrade, Serbia

Three days before the country’s annual Pride parade, police forced several thousand participants to disperse on the streets of Belgrade, Serbia, after a series of clashes with a group of hooligans from the LGBT community and other demonstrators, according to local news reports. The clashes began Thursday afternoon in the Sarajevo neighborhood of Vračar, a Serbian nationalist stronghold, where the parade was scheduled to begin.

An unnamed source from the police told Reuters that the clashes erupted when three groups of hooligans took over the streets and shouted insults at the participants. The source said the hooligans from the LGBT community first tried to block the march, but police quickly dispersed the crowds with tear gas and then with water cannon, while also firing a few warning shots. “Police later asked the gay activists to leave the street after they refused to leave and the LGBT community marched on,” the source said. The march continued and police eventually dispersed the crowds once again, the source claimed. After the parade, police arrested three hooligans in relation to the clashes. Police also took away a police station in Sarajevo.

Serbian police fired tear gas, water cannon and used water cannon trucks to disperse LGBT rights demonstrators who attempted to march in Belgrade, Serbia, over the June 30 weekend, Reuters reported.

The demonstrators had been marching near the central square called Bana Jelačićeva, or “Street of Hope,” where the Pride parade was to begin. During the night of June 29-30, police had begun to restrict traffic on Bana Jelačićeva. The demonstration had started at Bana Jelačićeva but had been blocked, and then police had shut down traffic. Police had previously blocked the march in Zagorje on

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