Dozens arrested at Belgrade EuroPride event: minister
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Police detained 87 people in the Serbian capital when LGBTQ activists rallied for a EuroPride march at the weekend despite a government ban, the interior minister said on Sunday.
The march on Saturday, intended as the cornerstone event of the EuroPride gathering, was banned earlier this week by the interior ministry.
"Eighty seven people were detained. Criminal charges were pressed against 11 of them," Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin told commercial TV channel Pink.
The ministry had cited security concerns as its reason for banning the march, after right-wing groups threatened to stage protests.
Despite the official ban, thousands of people were able to march a few hundred metres through central Belgrade -- from the Constitutional Court to a nearby park -- a much shorter route than organisers had originally planned.
The interior ministry had also barred protests against the event but far-right groups gathered in front of several Belgrade churches.
Local media reported that skirmishes had erupted on the margins of the Pride march and opponents of the rally had thrown flares at police.
"During yesterday's events Serbia showed it is a functional and organised state ... that can provide full security to its citizens," Vulin told Pink, according to a statement from his ministry.
No citizens were injured but 13 of the 6,000 police officers deployed for the event sustained minor injuries, he said.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, who is openly gay, said she was "proud" that "no major incidents" had occurred.
Serbia, which aspires to join the European Union, had been under international pressure to allow the march to go ahead.
Homophobia remains deep-seated in the largely patriarchal Balkan nation. It does not legally recognise same-sex marriage, despite some progress over the years in reducing discrimination.