The Serbian Orthodox Church sees the Pride Parade planned for Belgrade on September 20 2009 as equivalent to Sodom and Gomorrah, while underlining that it rejects any violence against the event.
Serbian authorities have vowed strict security to protect the event, with some reports suggesting that ultra-rightists and football fans plan to attack the Pride Parade.
The 2009 event is the second attempt at a gay pride event in Belgrade. A similar event in June 2001 was disrupted by ultra-rightists.
Serbia’s B92 said that organisers of the parade said that the church’s position would encourage extremist attacks, although the church said that it had never and would never call for violence against anyone.
The event has won expressions of support from the United States embassy, human rights groups and some individual politicians, including the country’s minister of human rights, as well as political groupings such as the liberals.
Serbia’s interior ministry has indicated that it could take into preventative detention anyone who intended a violent attack on participants in the parade.
President Boris Tadic was asked by organisers to endorse the parade but the president’s office responded that it had made its position on such matters clear by supporting Serbia’s laws against discrimination, Serbian media reported.