Orthodox church calls for attacks on LGBTQ people in lead up to EuroPride in Belgrade

It’s being reported by local media outlets that a Serbian Orthodox church bishop is facing criticism after appearing to call for armed attacks on the EuroPride event that will be held in Belgrade in September.

Bishop Nikanor Bogunović of Banat reportedly said that he would “curse” all the participants of EuroPride. Video footage of the bishop making the statements in a sermon to his church have been posted to YouTube.

According to media reports, the bishop claimed that LGBTQ people would “come to Belgrade and flaunt and desecrate the city of Belgrade, the holy Serbian city.”

He reportedly went on to say that: “I will curse all those who organise and participate in something like that. I can do that much. If I had a weapon, I would use it, I would use that force if only I had it, but I do not.”

As the EuroPride event draws closer, we can expect homophobic rhetoric to continue to increase.

“Deep inequality and discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community in the Western Balkans region make EuroPride in Belgrade a turning point in the region,” said Marko Mihailović, one of the coordinators of the EuroPride. “This event will empower the community of LGBTQIA+ activists to continue their fight, and provide them with a much-deserved sense of validation for their struggle so far.”

“EuroPride is an opportunity for people from across Europe to show their solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community from the Western Balkans and support them in their long struggle for equality, tolerance and human rights which started two decades ago with the first Pride held in 2001 in Belgrade,” added Mihailović.

The EuroPride event in Belgrade will also include a major human rights conference.

“Our conference will gather together renowned experts in the field of human rights,” explained Goran Miletic – one of the coordinators of EuroPride. “The conference aims to initiate a dialogue with the stakeholders, local and international politicians and decision-makers on how they can contribute to strengthening equality and justice for the LGBTQIA+ community in the region of the Western Balkans. Additionally, through various workshops, panels, lectures and other capacity building events the conference will serve as a forum for discussion and networking.”

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