Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ministry of Interior bans weekend gatherings in Belgrade

BELGRADE, 30.09.2011

Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs Friday banned all public meetings which were scheduled for the weekend in Belgrade and which entail security risks, the ministry told Tanjug.

The ministry has taken this decision on the basis of the law on the assembly of citizens.

The ministry must notify the organizers of the meetings not later than 12 hours before the scheduled beginning of the assembly.

The Interior Ministry ban does not apply to cultural and sporting events, Tanjug was told.

LGBT groups had scheduled the Pride Parade in Belgrade on Sunday and rightist groups have announced that they would at the same time organize a family walk down the central city streets as a sign of affirmation of traditional social values.

Tadic supports ban of high risk meetings

Serbian President Boris Tadic Friday backed the decision by relevant state bodies to ban all gatherings of high risk planned for the upcoming weekend and thus protect the citizens from possible violence.

For the purpose of protecting all citizens and in accordance with security assessments by relevant bodies, the state must postpone or prohibit too risky events, he said.

In this way the citizens and members of the LGBT population are protected, and possible consequences of violence, including loss of human lives are prevented, President Tadic said quoted by his press service.

Tadic believes that the state has the right to ban rallies whose guiding principle is violence against those who are different and thus threaten public safety.

We are not banning parade, but preventing chaos, says Dacic

Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said Friday that the Serbian authorities are not banning the Pride Parade alone, but all the gatherings which entail security risks.

In a live broadcast on the Belgrade-based TV B92, Dacic elaborated on the Ministry of the Interior's (MUP) decision to ban all the gatherings which were due to take place on Saturday and Sunday, including the 2011 Pride Parade in organization of the LGBT population, and underlined that there was a significant risk that all discontent currently present in the society could spill into the streets, and turn them into chaos.

The interior minister said that all the attempts at holding the scheduled gatherings despite the ban will be thwarted, but underscored that does not abolish distinction between those who wanted to stage the Pride Parade and those who intended to obstruct it.

“The holding of the Pride Parade is an inalienable right, guaranteed by the Constitution, but the MUP can ban these gatherings in certain cases. These gatherings are not forbidden because of the motives for their staging, but rather because they pose a threat to general security,” Dacic said.

The MUP decided to ban all the gatherings scheduled for the forthcoming weekend in consultation with top officials. Certain diplomats in Belgrade were informed about this, and the decision was met with understanding, Dacic said.

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