Gay Pride in Serbia, the Belgrade 6, and the hypocrisy of the government

In 2001, the last time that the Beograd Pride parade took place in Belgrade, it was brutally attacked by fascists. I remember that then anarchists from ASI were there are were in a fight with the fascists. Our comrade Rata was one of the people who loudly and publically condemned the fascist terror tactics.

Over the past 8 years, LGBT activists in Serbia have been thinking about how to organize another parade and guarantee the safety of its participants. They had planned a parade for today. Amongst the participants were to be local antifascists. But the fascists have been actively organizing to attack the march again. They have even been organizing their terror attacks on the open internet. And therefore the authorities cancelled the parade “for the safety of its participants”. However this came after a number of attempts to force the organizers to cancel themselves, which included telling them that the police would not only not protect the parade, but also that the organizers would be liable for any damage done during the parade. This would include any damage done by hooligans or fascists who attacked them.

In response, the organizers demanded that the authorities go after the fascists, nationalists and hooligans who were openly threatening them. Although making threats, as well as hate speech, is forbidden, the authorities are turning a blind eye and calling this “public discussion”.

Personally I wouldn’t have asked the police for anything but here we won’t debate the role of the police. The organizers however managed to highlight the disgusting double standards of the authorities.

In the context of the Belgrade 6, we can see how, on the one hand a symbolic attack on the Greek Embassy resulting in a cracked window, some black marks and some graffiti is treated like “international terrorism” but open threats of attack on real people is just “public discussion”.

The authorities are thus actively supporting hate and violence. In fact, these types of fascist attacks can be seen as terrorism in its pure meaning – and the authorities are supporting it.

Although the government of Tadic is always trying to present itself as something more “democratic” or “open-minded”, the government openly flirts with nationalists and turns a blind eye to their violence, thus supporting it.

Members of ASI who read a statement during a solidarity protest two weeks ago in Belgrad referred to another incident – the attack on the American Embassy in Belgrade last year by nationalists. The damage done in the attack was far more serious than that done to the Greek Embassy and even somebody died. But the authorities did not want to make a political case out of it.

The state actively supports violence against people… when the victims are homosexuals or their friends and supporters. They support attacks against embassies… when they don’t agree on the politics of that government. They support nationalist and fascist violence and criminalize only those who fight against it. And for that reason, their hypocrisy should be condemned, even by people who don’t identify with anarchism. The human rights organizations which so quickly condemn arrests of “opposition” activists all over the world can show their bias in such situations by their lack of concern, but given this pattern of action by the Serbian state, they should have no illusions as to what is going on.

In the meanwhile, for those who have opposed the arrest of the Belgrade 6, this is just another example of state hypocrisy and persecution which we should attack.