Following a attack in Belgrade on a lesbian who was wearing gay symbols and the release by police of her attacker, the Serbia Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) held a large protest outside Serbian government officers on Wednesday under the slogan "It’s enough!"
The protest was protected by a large number of police in riot gear, but there were no incidents.
The protesters carried banners with messages "These hands are not violent," "Homophobia is cured," "I do not tolerate torture," "Offenders in the four walls", "Violence on the streets-your own risk", "We are all A.Z" . and "Serbian not be silent." They waved the flag of the gay movement, but not the flag of Serbia.
The near-fatal attack on the lesbian was, said GSA, one of the most serious ones in the last several years.
"It is obvious that attackers no longer shrink from trying to take the lives of those who are of a different sexual orientation or who wear symbols of the LGBT movement. GSA therefore asks the relevant state institutions, and especially those politicians who have lately been talking about LGBT people and their activities in a negative context, if it is necessary that somebody be killed in order to finally realise how serious and severe the problems are that LGBT population in Serbia faces and in order to begin solving those problems."
Wednesday’s protest demanded that the government of Serbia develop and implement a national program to combat violence and discrimination and pass a hate crimes law.
The woman that was attacked wrote:
"I am one of many that this is happening – it could happen to anyone of you!"
"I know that my friends are afraid to report similar attacks that are happening to them but I decided not to withdraw. I defended that night, and now I do not want to keep quiet! And it does not matter whether I’m lesbian or straight – someone tried to kill me!"
"I am bitter and angry that they let the one out who wanted to take my life … What should happen to make it relevant and keep such dangerous refuge from the streets? If I had not resisted and managed to stab or kill me, would that be sufficient cause for detention? What happened to me will continue to happen until you stand up to bullies and those who instigate them."
"I want to live and I want my life to continue. I do not want to go anywhere, this is my city that I love and not let these maniacs tend to me from it. I do not want them to be pictures of Serbia and our future!"
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