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Human Rights

LGBT activists march on the path to EU in Montenegro

In a peaceful demonstration, gay rights activists have marched in the capital of Montenegro to demand more rights. In this year's event, demonstrators were outnumbered by police 100 to 1.

Up to 200 gay rights activists marched peacefully in the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica, on Sunday.

Demonstrators carried signs reading, "Let's Love Each Other," "This is Just the Beginning," "Traditionally Proud," and "Silence = Death" in an event that was protected by around 2,000 police officers, according to AFP news agency.

Organizer Daniel Kalezic said, "LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] people in Montenegro still live in fear because of social resentment."

"I am the happiest man in the world today! This year we had better cooperation with the authorities," he added.

This was Montenegro's third gay pride parade and the second held in the capital. The last march in the capital, last October, was marred by violent clashes. Over 50 people were detained and around 20 policemen were injured.

In the former Yugoslav republic, with a population of 650,000, gays and lesbians continue to live in fear of hate crimes, and say they do not trust authorities to protect their rights. According to AFP news agency, surveys show that 70 percent of Montenegrins consider homosexuality an illness. The staunchly conservative and deeply macho Balkan country is currently seeking EU membership.

The head of the EU delegation in Montenegro, Mitja Drobnic, joined Sunday's parade, telling reporters, "Human rights make part of the rule of law. Without results achieved in the area of the rule of law there is no progress towards EU membership."

sb/ksb (AFP, AP)

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