The Serbian Ministry of Interior has banned the gay pride march in Belgrade, just three days before it was due to take place.
Serbia's Ministry of Interior has banned Belgrade Pride today, just three days before it was due to take place.
The Serbian authorities also banned the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender event in 2009 and 2011, claiming they were worried about public safety.
The National Security Council chose to outlaw the march, as well as the three other large public gatherings on 6 October, shattering any hope of the organizers even marching a few meters at the center of the city with their private security service.
Several Members of the European Parliament, including Marije Cornelissen, Jelko Kacin and Keith Taylor, had planned to attend the event.
Reacting to the ban, Jelko Kacin MEP, European Parliament Rapporteur for Serbia, said: 'I regret that freedom of expression and assembly, two cornerstones of all European democracies, cannot be exercised freely by all Serbian citizens. This ban is a lost opportunity for Serbia, and it gives an impression the country does not deserve.
'Serbian police are professional and capable of ensuring public law and order. I feel safe walking the street of Belgrade, and I am convinced state authorities could have ensured the safety of both the public and participants had they wanted to. This decision was a political one.'
Marije Cornelissen and Keith Taylor MEPs from the Greens/EFA Group, added: 'Unfortunately, homophobes won by threatening large-scale unrest and violence.
'Why does Serbia continue to allow high-risk football matches, providing police protection from hooligans but not homophobes? A decision like this should weigh heavily against Serbia in a decision on the opening of EU negotiations.'
The European Commission will publish the next accession reports for Serbia and several other countries in November 2012.
This follows the EU Home Affairs Commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom, voicing her support for the gay pride march, stressing that homo- and trans-phobia issues in Europe need to be raised.
Malmstrom wrote on her blog: 'This week, all eyes are on Serbia, where a pride week is organized, which hopefully ends well with a pride parade on Saturday.'
She then added that the 'gay pride' event is likely to be banned yet again by the Serberian Authorities.
'I have heard that there are posters and graffiti calling for violence against pride participants in Belgrade.'
About a month ago, Dacic said that the country needed no European Union if its admission ticket was a gay parade.
He said: 'Cut the talk about human rights. What human rights, people's safety is in question.
'There are countries where there are no gay parades and they are still members of the EU. Is it possible that this is still the main topic, that we are still preoccupied with the gay parade as a major problem, as a ticket to the EU, this is ridiculous.'
The march was scheduled to take place alongside a parade of war veterans, a gathering of patriotic organizations and the transfer of the remains of Prince Pavle Karadjordjevic from Belgrade's Cathedral Church of St Michael the Archangel to the crypt of the Church of St George in Oplenac, all on the same day.