Monday, September 13, 2010

Gays Protest at Serb UN Mission Oct 8 in NYC;

Activists Demand Safe Belgrade Gay Parade

(Leaders of Serbia's gay community last week held a news conference about their upcoming pride parade. In the center is Lazar Pavlović, on the left is Boban Stojanović, and Adorjan Kurucz on the right. Photo credit: Belgrade Pride 2010.)

NEW YORK CITY (September 13) --The activist organization Gays Without Border/USA chapter will stage a protest at the Serbian Mission to the United Nations next month. The action will be undertaken in the wake of violent threats by extremists that were made when Serbia's gay community announced plans for an October Gay Pride Parade in Belgrade.

The protest will take place on Friday, October 8 at noon at the Serbian Mission to the United Nations. The building is located at 854 Fifth Avenue at 67th Street in New York City.

This October's parade would be the first Belgrade gay rights march since 2001, when extremists forced the event's cancellation. An attempt was made for a parade in 2009, but was called off hours before it began, because bodily harm was threatened against the gays.

From Serbia, gay community organizer Lazar Pavlović, who is also president of the Gay Straight Alliance, welcomed the October 8 protest in Manhattan:

"We really and strong appreciate your solidarity with us and our problems after threats we are receiving from extremist groups. Authorities made responsible political decision to support Belgrade Pride verbally and, now, in concrete way,"Pavlović said. "Police promise to protect Gay Pride Parade. All we need in next period is that authorities do not change their decision. You and other our international friends are gonna be crucial to make political pressure on the authorities in Belgrade. Your plans to make protest at Serbian UN mission in NYC are great!"

Gays Without Borders/USA member Michael Petrelis, a veteran gay rights activist and organizer of the October 8 action, promised full American gay support for gay Serbs, in their non-violent push for peaceful assembly in the streets and safety from homophobic attacks.

"We will not be silent in the month leading up to the Gay Pride Parade," Petrelis said. "We have a simple message for the Serb Mission to the United Nations, and all Serb leaders: We are watching how you protect the human rights of your gay citizens. We demand that you do all in your power to guarantee a violence-free march and rally in Belgrade next month."

Human rights activists everywhere are encouraged to organize their own solidarity demonstrations, prior to the parade. For more information contact:

Lazar Pavlović
Republic of Serbia
Phone: +381 (0)

Michael Petrelis
United States of America
Phone: 1-415-621-6267

# # #

No comments: