SERBIA: Riot Police Clash With Violent Anti-Gay Protesters At Belgrade Pride
Serbian riot battled hundreds of neo-Nazi anti-gay rioters at Belgrade Pride today, fighting back against hurled Molotov cocktails with stun grenades. Over 100 injuries were reported and almost 200 rioters were arrested.
Thousands of police officers sealed off the streets in the capital where the march took place, repeatedly clashing at several locations with rioters who were trying to burst through security cordons. Several parked cars were set on fire or damaged, shop windows were broken, garbage containers were overturned and streets signs destroyed. Several shops were looted before police restored peace late afternoon. The anti-gay rioters also fired shots and threw Molotov cocktails at the headquarters of the ruling pro-Western Democratic Party, setting the garage of the building on fire. The state TV building and other political parties headquarters were also attacked, with many of the house windows shattered by stones. The protesters, chanting "death to homosexuals!" hurled bricks, stones, glass bottles and stun grenades at riot police. Police responded by firing tear gas and deploying armored vehicles to disperse the charging protesters in the heart of the capital even after the brief pride march ended.The president of Serbia denounced the attacks, saying, "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." Serbia's Minister of Justice said that those arrested face up to eight years in prison. Early reports don't indicate whether any of Belgrade Pride's attendees were injured. Last year's pride parade was canceled over the threat of violence.