Thursday, July 25, 2013
LGBT activists and their supporters staged the first Pride March this week in Budva, Montenegro. The participants of the March were subjected to physical violence, incitement to killings and other verbal abuse by about 200 protesters. Some participants were injured and a number of protesters were arrested.
ILGA-Europe issued a statement strongly condemning the violence and deeply regretting that some people in Montenegro resort to aggressiveness and hostility to express their views. This said, ILGA-Europe commended the police force for ensuring adequate protection to the marchers and hopes that the Montenegrin authorities will thoroughly investigate the attacks and bring the perpetrators of violence to justice. Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, was quoted in a press release as stating that "Today is an unfortunate day for Montenegro. A group of LGBTI citizens exercised their fundamental right to assembly and publicly express themselves peacefully. Unfortunately other citizens employed violent methods to deprive their compatriots of this basic right."
She also stated that "Montenegro is an EU candidate country. The Montenegrin authorities fulfilled their duty to guarantee the right of assembly to LGBTI activists and their supporters. However, the events of today clearly demonstrate that despite some positive progress in laws against discrimination, there is a huge need for education and awareness raising to be done by the Montenegrin authorities in order to cultivate and promote the basic principles and values of the European Union among its citizens, the principles of diversity and respect for human rights."