Last night, thousands of Serbs marched through the main streets of Belgrade in protest of the Euro Pride march expected to be held in the capital city next month.
Estimates of the number of participants vary. Balkan Insight reports 5-10,000 people, while Danas reports more than 10,000. According to the Ukrainian outlet Strana, local Serbian outlets are reporting more than 50,000 participants.
The procession began in front of the Serbian Patriarchate administration and ended at the Church of St. Mark.
Marchers bore crosses and icons of Christ, the Theotokos, and various saints, chanting prayers and shouting various slogans: “We don’t want gay parades and Western occupation!” “We won’t give up our holy sites!”
They also carried banners reading: “Hands off our children!”
The procession “included Belgradians of all ages, from the elderly to babies, as well as numerous priests and monastics,” reports Danas.
“Dignified, peaceful, Christian, for family and tradition. The people don’t want the Euro-trash in Serbia. This was the message. We move ahead together,” Parliemantary Deputy Milica Đurđević Stamenkovski said of the procession.
Euro Pride is a pan-European LGBT event hosted by a different city ever year. This year it’s to be held in Belgrade September 12-18.
However, there is also controversy surrounding the statements of His Grace Bishop Nikanor of Banat’s statements about Euro Pride and the protests.
In a video published last week, Bp. Nikanor is seen standing in front of a church, addressing a handful of believers, warning that Euro Pride “will come to Belgrade and flaunt and desecrate the city of Belgrade, the holy Serbian city.”
He continued: “I will anathematize all those who organize and participate in something like that. I can do that much. If I had a weapon, I would use it, I would use that force if only I had it, but I don’t.”
He also referred to Serbia’s openly gay Prime Minister Ana Brnabić.
The Forum for Security and Democracy, founded in Belgrade in 2004, “dedicated to spreading democracy in our society and country as well as the promotion of democratic reforms,” has called on the Public Prosecutor’s Office to investigate Bp. Nikanor’s statements.
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