Serbia Orthodox church head publicly supports EuroPride ban

Sep 5, 2022, 9:38 PM | Updated: Sep 6, 2022, 9:59 am
FILE - People march during a protest against the international LGBT event EuroPride in Belgrade, Se...

FILE - People march during a protest against the international LGBT event EuroPride in Belgrade, Serbia, on Aug. 28, 2022. The head of Serbia's powerful Orthodox Church on Tuesday Sept. 6, 2022 supported a ban on a pan-European LGBTQ event due to take place in Belgrade next week, saying that the topic has been “artificially imposed” and threatens traditional values in the Balkan country. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)

(AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — The head of Serbia’s powerful Orthodox Church on Tuesday supported a ban on a pan-European LGBTQ event due to take place in Belgrade next week, saying that the topic has been “artificially imposed” and threatens traditional values in the Balkan country.

The special video statement by Patriarch Porfirije comes amid a heated debate in Serbia and mounting international criticism over the authorities’ announcement that the Sept. 12-18 EuroPride events are canceled because of threats of violence from right-wing extremists.

Members of the European Pride Organizers Association chose Serbia’s capital three years ago to host the annual event, in what was seen as a major breakthrough for a Slavic country that is traditionally conservative and under strong influence from the Orthodox Church.

Serbia has pledged to boost LGBTQ rights as it seeks membership in the European Union. While pride marches had been held in the country under strong security in the past several years, plans for this year’s event triggered protests by increasingly vocal pro-Russian rightist groups.

Opposition groups and rights activists have said canceling the pride march over extremists’ threats is a blow to democracy. But Patriarch Porfirije said banning the event was “necessary and justified.”

“This topic was artificially imposed on us and is completely contrary to the system of values of our nation,” he said.

Just days away from the events that are suposed to include a Pride march and open-air concerts, organizers say they are yet to receive a formal ban. Several EU officials have said they will join the march, while those calling on the Serbian government to reverse the announced ban included U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken.

Goran Miletic, a EuroPride coordinator in Serbia, said on Monday that organizers have been holding negotiations with the government. He said preparations are still underway for the gathering that is expected to draw 15,000 people.

“We will not give up on any part of the European pride week, including the march scheduled for Sept. 17,” Miletic said.

“We are ready for a compromise and an agreement so that EuroPride can take place in an orderly manner and so that an image of beauty and solidarity is sent to the world from Belgrade and Serbia.”

Porfirije’s public statement puts additional pressure on the government and is likely to further fuel public opposition as well.

Serbia’s populist leader, Aleksandar Vucic, also cited a crisis with Kosovo and growing economic and energy troubles caused by the war in Ukraine, as the reasons why the state cannot handle potential clashes with right-wing groups.

In the statement carried by the state RTS television, Porfirije warned against violence.

“Evil is not cured and defeated by violence, only multiplied,” he said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Russians lineup to get Kazakhstan's a Personal Identification Number (INN) in a public service cent...
Associated Press

Officials say 98,000 Russians enter Kazakhstan after call-up

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — About 98,000 Russians have crossed into Kazakhstan in the week since President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of reservists to fight in Ukraine, Kazakh officials said Tuesday, as men seeking to avoid the call-up continued to flee by land and air into neighboring countries. Kazakhstan and Georgia, both part of […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Ford to invest $700M, add 500 jobs at Louisville truck plant

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Ford will invest $700 million mainly at its Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, creating about 500 new jobs over the next four years. The company made the announcement Tuesday after a state board approved incentives Ford’s investment in the state. Most of the money will go to retool the truck plant, […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Idaho universities disallow abortion, contraception referral

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho universities are warning staffers not to refer students to abortion providers, and at least one public university is barring employees from telling students how to obtain emergency contraception or birth control as well. It’s the latest restriction in a state that already holds some of the strictest abortion laws in […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

US consumers gaining confidence as gas prices keep falling

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers grew more confident for the second month in a row as gas prices continued to fall. The Conference Board said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to 108 in September, from 103.6 in August. The back-to-back monthly increases follow three straight monthly declines as American households were hammered by […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

New Thai rules allow abortions up to 20th week of pregnancy

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand will allow abortions up to the 20th week of pregnancy under new regulations issued by the Public Health Ministry, a government spokesperson announced Tuesday. The regulations, published Monday in the Royal Gazette, come into effect Oct. 26 and liberalize the terms of a law in place since February last year that […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

UN rights team: Ukrainian POWs face systematic mistreatment

GENEVA (AP) — U.N. human rights investigators say Ukrainian prisoners of war appear to be facing “systematic” mistreatment — including torture — both when they are captured and when they are transferred into areas controlled by Russian forces or Russia itself. The head of a monitoring mission set up by the U.N. human rights office […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Serbia Orthodox church head publicly supports EuroPride ban