Main | Sunday, October 20, 2013

MONTENEGRO: Riot Police Fire Tear Gas At Anti-Gay Extremists At Pride Parade

An estimated 1500 anti-gay extremists clashed with riot police in Montenegro today as authorities struggled to protect the participants in the first gay pride event ever held in the nation's capital. None of parade's 150 participants were injured or arrested.

The march, guarded by almost 2,000 police officers, took place on Sunday afternoon in Podgorica, the capital of the staunchly conservative Balkan state. The violence occurred when the attackers tried to push through cordons of hundreds of police. Such pride marches are seen as a test of Montenegro's commitment to human rights as it seeks to join the European Union. The half-hour walk through the centre of Podgorica was the second attempt to hold a gay pride march in Montenegro, a mountainous country of 680,000 people which began EU accession talks last year. Gay rights opponents attacked a similar march in July in the coastal town of Budva. This time streets were cordoned off and uniformed policemen were deployed on the roofs of nearby buildings while a police chopper hovered above the scene. March organiser Danijel Kalezic says the protection allowed about gay activists to walk peacefully through the city of Podgorica.
The Associated Press reports that about 20 police officers and 40 extremists were injured during the melee. Sixty of the rioters were arrested, some of whom were reportedly carrying Molotov cocktails.

RELATED: Here's my report on the July violence in Budva.

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