SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Rights activists within the Serb-run a part of Bosnia had been assaulted late Saturday, hours after police banned an LGBT occasion deliberate there over the weekend, citing safety issues.
The assault happened because the activists had been leaving a gathering on the places of work of the Bosnian department of the worldwide anti-corruption group Transparency Worldwide in Banja Luka. The assembly was organized after the occasion they hoped to stage within the northwestern metropolis on Sunday to advertise LGBT rights was banned by native police.
The activists stated just a few dozen males chased them by way of the streets, hurling insults and punches. Earlier than police arrived on the scene, a number of activists had been harm, together with one who required medical consideration.
The Banja Luka police stated legislation enforcement officers had escorted the activists to the police station to take their statements and had been nonetheless on the lookout for the perpetrators.
The canceled LGBT occasion, organized and supported by a number of rights teams from throughout Bosnia, was to incorporate a film screening adopted by a panel dialogue. Its announcement provoked a powerful homophobic backlash final week, together with from the Bosnian Serb president, Milorad Dodik, who stated LGBT folks had been “harassers” and that he hoped the “official our bodies will stop them from gathering each in closed venues and within the open.”
Banja Luka Mayor Drasko Stanivukovic additionally denounced the occasion saying the LGBT group ought to prohibit itself to Bosnia’s multiethnic capital, Sarajevo, as a result of Bosnian Serbs cherish “patriarchal, conventional households and are clear about our religion and our id.”
Bosnia stays extremely conservative and torn by divisions stemming from a 1992-95 ethnic warfare involving Bosnia’s Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks in the course of the breakup of Yugoslavia. Homophobia stays deep seated regardless of some progress through the years in lowering discrimination.
Since 2019, an annual satisfaction parade has been organized often in Sarajevo with none notable unrest, however with a big legislation enforcement presence.
The violence in Banja Luka prompted condemnation from European Union officers, a number of Western embassies and worldwide organizations.
“Phrases have penalties,” the EU mission to Bosnia tweeted, including that common verbal assaults by Bosnian Serb politicians towards civil society activists and journalists create “a local weather the place bodily assaults can observe.”
British Ambassador to Bosnia Julian Reilly concurred in a tweet that the “stunning assault on civic activists … confirmed the true affect of hate speech.”
The U.S Embassy in Sarajevo tweeted that the Bosnian Serb authorities “should establish and prosecute those that dedicated this heinous act.”