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Serbia Bans All Public Gatherings, Including a Gay Parade

Serbia banned all public gatherings planned for Oct. 6, including the Gay Pride parade, as the authorities seek to prevent any violence in Belgrade, the Interior Ministry said.

The ban, the second in two years, was announced after 2,000 police officers guarded today’s conceptual art exhibition in the capital Belgrade depicting Jesus Christ in a “provocative context,” which caused great public disturbances, according to an e-mailed statement citing Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, who is also the Interior Minister.

Police banned the Gay Pride parade in 2011 citing threats to public safety following reports that extremists were preparing big riots in Belgrade. In 2010 more than 100 Serbian policemen and civilians were injured and dozens more were arrested in skirmishes that broke out at the Pride Parade, the first public gay event in nine years.

The ministry is “not interfering, disputing or violating anyone’s human and civil rights and freedoms” and the aim of the ban is to “protect the security of the citizens of Belgrade, prevent any conflicts or eventual unrests, which may threaten diplomatic-consular offices of foreign countries,” it said.

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