Violence mars first gay parade in Montenegro

Published: July 24, 2013

(Reuters) – Police clashed with anti-gay protesters in Montenegro on Wednesday as they tried to disrupt the first gay pride parade to be held in the staunchly conservative Balkan country that is in talks to join the European Union.

Around 200 demonstrators hurled stones, bottles and flares at policemen in the coastal town of Budva who were keeping them separate from around 40 marchers wearing shirts bearing the colors of the rainbow, the symbol of the gay rights movement.

At least ten demonstrators were arrested and several marchers were slightly injured, according to police.

Protesters chanted "Kill the gays" and carried banners that read "Only healthy Montenegro", a Reuters reporter on the scene said.

Zdravko Cimbaljevic, one of the march organizers and the first person to have come out as gay in Montenegro, said he had not expected such a violent reaction, which forced the marchers to shorten the route to avoid further clashes.

"This is the true face of Montenegro," he told Reuters.

On Tuesday, opponents of the gay rights march had put up fake death notices bearing Cimbaljevic’s name and photograph on public buildings in Budva.

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