Anti-Gay Protesters, Police Clash at Serbian Pride Event

Over forty people were injured last week in Belgrade, after anti-gay protesters threw homemade bombs and rocks at the police officers who were protecting a gay rights parade. The police were there to oversee and protect the country’s latest attempt at a gay pride parade, which was the first since a 2001 attempt ended in violence from ultra-right groups. 60 people were arrested, according to Serbia’s interior ministry.

Interior minister Ivica Dacic had urged people to allow the march to go ahead without incident, saying “It is very important that the event, which might be disagreeable to most of Serbia’s citizens, goes by without incidents.”

Protesters showed up anyway, chanting “death to homosexuals,” and proceeded to throw bricks, stones, glass bottles, and firecrackers at the police.

The march was widely seen as a test for Serbia’s government, which is seeking membership in the European Union membership. A European Union official says these violent anti-gay riots could hurt the Balkan country’s bid to join the bloc.