BELGRADE, Serbia – Serbia's police on Wednesday banned a gay pride march in Belgrade, citing security concerns but also complying with a request from Serbia's Christian Orthodox church.
Police said they are banning the march planned over the weekend because they fear a repeat of the violence in 2010, when right-wing groups attacked such an event in Belgrade, triggering day-long clashes with the police that left more than 100 people injured.
Last year's gay pride march also was banned by authorities.
The current ban was announced after Patriarch Irinej, the head of Serbia's Christian Orthodox church, urged the government to prevent Saturday's march.
He said in a statement that such a "parade of shame" would cast a "moral shadow" on Serbia — a very conservative Balkan country whose gay population has faced threats and harassment.
Allowing this year's march had been regarded by some as a test of Serbia's pledge to respect human rights as it seeks European Union membership.