SARAJEVO (Reuters) – Bosnia’s first Gay Pride march on Sunday will be protected by a major security operation after some conservative Muslim groups had attempted to prevent the event and others organized counter-rallies.
Although opponents of the march in capital Sarajevo have called for peaceful protests, the authorities are nervous that fringe groups or youths could engage in violence in a country where anti-gay sentiment can often be heard in public.
Police - Officers - Event - US - Ambassador
More than 1,000 police officers will secure the event which will be attended by the U.S. ambassador to Bosnia, who is gay, and his partner. Anti-sniper units will be placed on the roofs of buildings along the main route in the city center.
An additional 150 security guards will also be deployed, the organizers said.
Homosexuality - Bosnia - Queer - Festivals - Sarajevo
Although homosexuality is legal in Bosnia, queer festivals held in 2008 and 2014 in Sarajevo were attacked by Islamist radicals and hooligans and the LGBTI community has largely been in hiding since then. There are no gay bars or places where LGBT people can openly meet.
Ethnically-divided Bosnia went through a devastating war in the 1990s, but organizers say people from across the divides have joined forces to protest against homophobia and discrimination which is widespread in the Balkans and often fueled by religious leaders and right-wing political parties.
Bosnia - Country - Pride - Parade - Test
Bosnia is the last Balkan country to hold a Pride parade, seen as a test of tolerance of minority rights as it seeks to join the European Union. After North Macedonia held its first Pride in June, it is now Bosnia’s turn, organizers say.
“We have planned the march for a long time, there has been need for it for a long time and we think this is the right moment to organize it,” said Ena Bavcic, one of the organizers.
People - Bosnia
“LGBT people in Bosnia are much more hidden when compared...
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