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Powerful Photos Show The First Gay Pride March In Serbia In Four Years

The 2010 pride march in Belgrade ended in an anti-gay riot. On Sunday, thousands of riot police guarded activists against threats of another attack.

Posted on September 28, 2014, at 5:44 p.m. ET

Over 1,000 gay rights activists in Serbia held their first pride march in four years on Sunday, walking through Belgrade streets emptied of traffic and pedestrians by a massive security operation.

Djordje Kojadinovic / Reuters

Last year's march and the two before it had been banned after threats from right-wing activists. This year's march again faced threats, though organizers persisted with assistance from authorities.

Djordje Kojadinovic / Reuters

Recent events involving the LGBT community had been closely watched by European Union officials. A progress report on Serbia's road to joining the EU questioned the country's ability to protect minorities and preserve human rights.

Djordje Kojadinovic / Reuters

An attack on a gay German activist in Belgrade earlier this month prompted new questions about whether police were up to the task of protecting LGBT people.

Djordje Kojadinovic / Reuters

At the same time, however, the attack served as a call to action for Serbian authorities to prove they could address the prevention of hate crimes.

Djordje Kojadinovic / Reuters

A gay rights activist holds a rainbow flag during a Pride march in Belgrade on Sunday.

On Saturday, several hundred people gathered in Belgrade to protest the Belgrade Gay Pride Parade. The anti-gay rally also drew a heavy police presence.

AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic
AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic

An Orthodox Christian nun holds a crucifix as she attends an anti-gay rights rally in Belgrade on Saturday.

AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic

Members of the Serbian Gendarmerie hold a cordon line during an anti-gay rights rally in Belgrade on Saturday.

In the days leading up to the Pride march, anti-gay graffiti appeared around the city.

AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic

A man walks past graffiti that reads "They Will Not March" in Serbian Cyrillic letters.

AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic

A woman walks past graffiti that reads "Stop the Parade of Shame."

AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic

A Serbian Army officer walks past a graffiti that reads "Stop the Parade."

In spite of the show of anti-gay sentiment, Saturday's pride march took place without any large scale-violence, though there were multiple arrests.

Stringer / Reuters

Riot police detain an anti-gay activist during Sunday's pride march in Belgrade.

While police did not specifically grant permission to the organizers, they allowed the earlier ban to expire at midnight the day before the march.

Srdjan Stevanovic / Getty Images

A couple kisses during the pride march.

AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic

Surrounded by tight security, hundreds of participants carried rainbow-colored balloons and flags and banners proclaiming "Pride," "Peace," and "Love."

AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic

Waving hundreds of rainbow-colored flags, several hundred gay activists marched from the government headquarters through the empty Belgrade streets where shops were closed and public transport was stopped.

AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic

Activists also carried a sign that read: "For all the victims of violence in Serbia."

AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic
Srdjan Stevanovic / Getty Images

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