Serbian church blasts gays over parade plan

2014-09-23 18:30
(Rick Bowmer, AP)

(Rick Bowmer, AP)

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Belgrade - The Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) on Tuesday blasted what they called "shameless" plans in Belgrade for a gay Pride Parade, which the church says was "imposed" on Serbia from the West.

"Organisers of such parading and their mentors from Europe refuse to draw conclusions from what previous parades caused", the SPC said in a statement signed by its head, Patriarch Irinej.

The Serbian LGBT community has launched a Pride Week, planning a Pride Parade on Sunday in central Belgrade as its climax.

The parade was, however, routinely banned as a security threat since massive violence accompanied the only one ever held, in 2010.

With the police decision on Sunday's parade still pending, the SPC accused the organizers of causing "unrest and aggression, awakening destructive instincts, among the young."

"That absurd parading, forces the authorities to activate almost the entire security apparatus to protect this insignificant group," it said.

The church said Serbia should not waste money on securing homosexuals after suffering the immense costs of disastrous floods earlier this year.

The SPC accused the parade organisers of "greed" and violating "God's moral structure built into the human nature." It also made parallels between homosexuality and paedophilia.

The church, which is profoundly influential in Serbia, has also in the past led in condemnations of homosexuality, branding it a disease and sin.

Serbian gays tried to hold a parade in 2001, but were attacked by a mob, who badly beat many of the parade's participants.

The 2010 parade was marred by clashes of thousands of attackers with thousands of police protecting several hundred gays and their supporters in Belgrade.

Dozens of attackers were arrested and charged, but were never convicted. In the three subsequent years, police scrapped the parade citing security concerns.

The European Union, which launched membership talks with Belgrade this year, has criticised Belgrade authorities' reluctance to secure gay rights against the threat of violence.

Read more on:    serbia  |  gay rights

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