BELGRADE — Belgrade Mayor Dragan Đilas stated on Thursday that Serbia has “bigger problems” than the holding of the gay Pride Parade in its capital city.
Đilas added that Serbia has been preoccupied for days with whether or not the parade would be held, and that this was happening at a moment when the country was facing “far more important problems”.
“This is a country where we ought to fight for new jobs, for the rights of our minority in Kosovo that are jeopardized, this is today a country where some people are forced to work for foreign companies for RSD 17,000 (monthly salary), while we’ve been listening to stories about whether or not there’ll be a gay parade for days now,” he was quoted as saying.
Đilas added that there was no doubt that minority groups were entitled to their rights, “as this is defined by law”, and continued:
“The question is whether such an event can be held in Belgrade without endangering material goods, members of the gay population, police officers and citizens of Belgrade. Have we arrived at a point where the whole town won’t be torn apart, where they can walk freely, instead of being in some sort of improvised cage, as was the case last year?”
The Belgrade mayor noted that he did not believe that our society had achieved that progress in the past year.
“Police are the ones who should say whether or not the parade can go ahead for security reasons. The job of a mayor means protecting people and material goods and I will never support any event that holds potential to endanger the safety of Belgrade and Belgraders,” Đilas concluded.
Also on Thursday, the Serbia government and the city administration of Belgrade said that their position on the holding of the gay parade “would be known soon”.