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Serbian Prime Minister attends Pride march for the first time

Serbian Prime Minister attends Pride march for the first time”

"My message to the citizens of Serbia is that the government will respects the rights of all citizens, both the majority and minorities", Brnabic told reporters.

Brnabic, 41, made global headlines in June when she was selected to be prime minister by her predecessor, Aleksandar Vucic, after he was elected president.

Under the slogan "For Change", the activists walked for around 1 kilometer in downtown Belgrade carrying rainbow flags and banners reading "Ana is Here", referring to the country's Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, as well as "Make Love, Not War". "We want to send a signal that diversity can contribute to making our society even stronger".

The Prime Minister of Serbia has marched in Belgrade's Pride parade for the first time ever.

Although extremist groups gathered with protest banners no incidents were reported.

She joined several hundred activists on Sunday at a pride march through the streets of Belgrade, which were cordoned by the police. Gay activists in Serbia have hailed Brnabic's appointment as an important step in their struggle for gay rights, but say much more still needs to be done.

Serbia's embattled gays have faced widespread harassment and violence from extremists.

A government press release said two other ministers would join Brnabic at the parade, which is due to start at 12.40pm (1040 GMT).

In 2010, the event was banned for three years after anti-gay protesters clashed with police officers, resulting in over 100 people being injured.

Besides Brnabic the parade was attended by the minister of public administration and local self-government Branko Ruzic, minister of labor Zoran Djordjevic and the mayor of Belgrade Sinisa Mali. Brnabic attended the event previous year when she was public administration minister.

Almost a decade later in 2010, another parade was allowed to go ahead but again descended into violence between anti-gay protesters and police, prompting a three-year ban on the event. A former ultranationalist who now says he is a pro-EU reformer, Vucic has declined invitations to attend the pride parade.

The surprise move made global headlines and sceptics suspected an attempt at "pinkwashing", with Brnabic being used as a puppet by Vucic to improve Serbia's as it seeks European Union membership.



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