The first-ever Pride Parade was held in the northern Serbian city of Novi Sad on Friday with city officials and members of diplomatic missions present on the central Republic Square.
The gathering under the slogan Come Out Together marked the end of Pride Week in Novi Sad which was organized by the local group Izadi (come out in Serbian), Belgrade Pride, the city authorities and OPENS (Novi Sad European Youth Capital 2019). Unlike pride parades in Belgrade, the Novi Sad event did not include a march through the streets.
The city’s deputy Mayor Ljiljana Kokovic said that this was a big step for the LGBT population which is subject to discrimination. „This is a taboo topic in Serbia but a big step has been taken in Novi Sad. I hope that we will send a message of love and peace and be an example to others,“ she said at the parade.
Izadji programme coordinator Filip Kocevski said the idea was to raise the visibility of the LGBT community and their problems among the wider public. „Novi Sad is more tolerant than other Serbian towns but we can‘t say it is completely safe for the community,“ he said, adding that violence and discrimination are their biggest problems.
A group of about a dozen people protested in front of the pride headquarters with a banner saying Immorality and Gay Shame – Never in Public Life. They were also carrying icons and crosses and reading from the Bible.
A large number of police officers were deployed to secure the gathering.