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Serbian Officials Ban Belgrade Pride, Cite Security Reasons

By Daniel Reynolds

Belgrade's Pride parade has been called off due to security concerns, reports website Balkan Insight.

The national security council of Serbia canceled the festivities for the third year in a row, citing threats of violence from right-wing extremists as the reason.

"No one should question the political orientation of the state and whether the constitutionally guaranteed rights are respected. The only limitation are security reasons," said Serbian prime minister Ivica Dacic over a public broadcast.

The cancellation, announced Friday, was a last-minute decision by officials, as the parade was scheduled for this weekend. All other public gatherings were banned along with it.

This marks the fourth time that the parade has been canceled in the past five years. A march occurred in 2010, but it was disrupted by several thousand protesters, who set fire to buildings, threw stones, and injured members of the police force.

Ivan Ivanovic, a right-wing activist, had warned that there would be "bloodshed" if this year's parade went forward, "just like in 2010."

"People are deeply unsatisfied and are telling us that they will go on to the streets in vast numbers to protest," Ivanovic said at a Tuesday press conference, Balkan Insight reported. "If that happens again, we all know that Belgrade streets will see bloodshed, and that’s in no one’s interest."

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