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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 26, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 30
Montenegro Pride march attacked by rioters - Police arrest 20 amid shouts of 'Kill the Gays!'
Section One
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Montenegro Pride march attacked by rioters - Police arrest 20 amid shouts of 'Kill the Gays!'

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The first-ever Montenegro Pride was attacked by hundreds of anti-Gay rioters on July 23 in the coastal resort town of Budva.

'Kill the Gays!' the attackers chanted, as they pelted the Pride marchers with stones and bottles. 'Kiss the Gays!' Pride marchers replied.

In spite of the attacks, the Pride marchers reached their destination - the beach area in front of Budva's medieval walls - and held a brief rally before dispersing.

Riot police clashed with anti-Gay rioters all day throughout the city. Twenty people were reportedly arrested.

NO SERIOUS INJURIES
Prior to the Pride event, fake obituaries for well-known LGBT activists were posted in several locations around Budva, but there were no reports of anyone being seriously injured.

'Unfortunately, in 20 years of transition Montenegro has not matured enough to tolerate differences,' said Aleksandar Zekovic, one of the organizers of the rally.

Zdravko Cimbaljevic, who in 2010 became the first person in Montenegrin history to publicly declare that he is Gay, added, 'I expected opposition but this attack is actually the real image of Montenegro.'

A small Balkan country with only 600,000 people, Montenegro was part of the former Yugoslavia until it split away from Serbia in 2006. Within the old Yugoslavia, Montenegrins had the reputation of being hotheaded, clannish, and intensely proud of their 500-year history of resistance to assimilation by Ottoman Turkey.

Modern Montenegro, however, wants to be assimilated by the European Union, and its government has taken steps to safeguard LGBT rights. In May, Montenegro's Anti-Discrimination Council adopted a draft strategy aimed at improving life for LGBT Montenegrins over the next five years.

HUMAN RIGHTS AFFIRMED
After the clashes on July 23, Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic stated in Parliament that his government 'supports protection of human rights for all people without difference.'

Montenegro's human rights minister, Suad Numanovic, publicly supported the Pride March and promised that the government would send a representative to attend the rally. It is not clear whether that, in fact, happened.

Police Assistant Director Nikola Janjusevic said before the march that police were undertaking all measures to ensure the safety of the participants. Hundreds of new police officers reportedly were hired in anticipation of the Pride event.

TWO-YEAR DELAY
Montenegro's first Gay Pride parade, organized by Cimbaljevic, was to have taken place on May 31, 2011. However, the march was cancelled following two attacks on Gays in the capital, Podgorica, before the start of the event.

Ferhat Dinosa, then minister for human and minority rights, was subsequently accused of making homophobic remarks and fired in late 2011.

A second Pride march is scheduled for October, in Podgorica, Montenegro's capital.

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