Tensions are on the rise in Sarejevo less than a week before the first ever Pride Festival after a violent attack against gay activists in neighboring Serbia.
20 youth surrounded a group of Pride goers, including one US citizen, and beat them in public view. Several activists were injured, including the N. American who received a concussion and a broken arm.
Despite the fact the assailants were masked and wore dark hoods to cover their hair and obscure their body shape, police were able to arrest 3 people involved within 24 hours. They have also taken others in for questioning.
Organizers of Sarejevo’s event have also been under threat and this violence has only heightened their sense of insecurity. As one activist told Amnesty International:
We do not feel safe for ourselves or for our families. Some of us had to find new accommodation because our names and addresses were made publicly known. We are afraid to use public transport or go out alone. Our dogs are our best protection at the moment. We feel isolated.
(Please know that the person quoted in my previous post is the spokesperson for the largest queer organization in the area and was on record, ie gave permission to have her name used in the publications that printed it.)
It’s a little late to be circulating this, but please consider signing the Amnesty International letter demanding that the government protect the queer community during this weekend’s historic pride festival and prevent further threats of lynching, stoning, and other forms of physical violence being publicly hurled at organizers. You can sign the letter here.