sreda, 23. september 2009

Protest letter

Rdeče zore festival sent the following letter to Boris Tadić (President of Republic of Serbia), Prime Minister Mirko Cvetković, Ivica Dačić (First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior), Svetozar Čiplić (Minister of Human and Minority Rights) and Predrag Filipov (Ambassador of Republic of Serbia in Slovenia) in protest to the failure of Serbian state and police to defend the basic human rights of Serbian LGBT citizens – the right to publicly gather, speak and kiss in their own hometown without fear.

You are very much invited to do the same!



On September 19th 2009, the organizers of Belgrade Pride held their final press conference before the Pride Parade which was planned for September 20th – but could not take place due to high security risks and lack of cooperation on the part of Serbian state and police to secure the event.

Serbian police canceled the permission for Pride Parade which was going to be held in the city center after months of planning by the organizing team and repeated assurance by the government at all levels, including the
Minister of Human and Minority Rights, the Prime Minister as well as the President that Pride will be made possible and protected!

Feminist and queer festival Rdeče zore protests against the inability of Serbian state to protect the basic human rights of sexual minorities in its own state. We protest against the police decisions to not act on its own security studies’ measures and choose the tactic of pressure on the organizers (in hope they are going to cancel the event) instead. We protest against the fact that the police, in the last 48 hours before Pride, refused to cooperate with the organizers in securing Pride Parade, and thus applied even further pressure on the organizers. Police refused to take responsibility for maintaining public order during the event. Instead, the organizers were told that they would be held responsible for any public damage caused by the hooligans and fascist groups who have been organizing a violent response to Pride!

We ask: how it is possible that Section 49 of the Serbian Constitution condemns hate speech yet the responsible authorities do not prosecute it? Instead, the official line has been that this is “a debate, an exchange of opinions”! Are Serbian fascist groups’ calls for violence against Pride participants (published in Serbian media) that included calls for their lynching and beating an example of hate-free “debate”? The refusal to protect the participants of the Pride has forced the organizers to cancel the event and shown that right-wing violence has again won over the human rights of minority groups in Serbia.

Rdeče zore festival supports the efforts of Pride organizers to contiunally fight for human rights of LGBT citizens. We also support their official request that police takes action against fascist and right-wing organizations that have issued hate speech against LGBT citizens and Pride in the press. We support their protests against the failure of Serbian state and police to defend their most basic human rights – their right to gather and speak safely in the streets of their hometown and state.

Yours truly,
Feminist and Queer Festival Rdeče zore,
Ljubljana, September 23rd 2009

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