SEVERAL hundred LGBT rights activists paraded through central Belgrade yesterday in the teeth of violent bigots who threatened to stop the event.
Thousands of anti-riot police were deployed to protect the Pride marchers as they waved their rainbow-coloured diversity flags.
The city centre was deserted, with shops closed, public transport halted and all traffic blocked by water cannon, armoured vehicles and police officers carrying riot shields.
“This is a chance to show that Belgrade is a world capital where all of its citizens are equal,” said Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali, who joined the march with foreign diplomats, government members and party leaders.
Gay pride marches have been banned for three years after extremists sparked street clashes in 2010 that saw over 100 people injured.
However, Belgrade is seeking European Union membership and believes this will be assisted by showing its respect for human rights for all.