BELGRADE, Serbia – Serbian police have cordoned off central Belgrade with metal fences to secure a gay pride march that is expected to be attended by the conservative country's first ever openly gay prime minister.
Ana Brnabic was elected earlier this year in what was seen as part of Serbia's efforts to embrace change and improve its image as it moves toward European Union membership.
Serbia's embattled gays have faced widespread harassment and violence from extremists. More than 100 people were injured during a gay pride event in 2010 when police clashed with right-wing groups and soccer hooligans.
On Sunday, helicopters could be heard flying over the Serbian capital. Hundreds of police deployed along metal fences to control crowds in the downtown area hours ahead of the march.