The European gathering of the LGBTQ community known as EuroPride has been banned in Serbia on Saturday after a mounting amount of right-wing bullying threatened the event, with organizers vowing to continue the festivities regardless of the cancellation.

Aleksandar Vučić, Serbia’s President, has attempted to have the event shut down since last month, citing rising costs of supplies as well as credible threats to the LGBTQ community from right-wing adversities. The interior ministry confirmed that the cancellation of EuroPride was due to potential conflicts that may occur during the event, according to the Guardian.

“Senseless conflicts on the streets of Belgrade would … endanger the safety of the participants of the march, as well as other citizens,” Aleksandar Vulin, the interior minister, said.

Serbia, a country with regressive LGBTQ politics, where gay marriage is illegal and homophobia and other queer-phobic sentiments are the norm, was an unusual and risky choice for EuroPride, and the government has done much of what it can do to push back against the event being held in the country, Time reported.

A protest against EuroPride even happened on Sunday as biker gangs, religious groups, and far-right nationalists came together in an attempt to keep the LGBTQ event from happening in the country.

Despite this, Belgrade Pride has promised to push on with the event in an attempt to battle the deep-seated homophobia in the country, with organizers such as Kristine Garina and lawmakers such as Terry Reintke pushing for a protest in favor of the LGBTQ community.

“The Serbian police banned this year’s EuroPride march by handing over the official notice to the organizers,” Belgrade Pride said. “Belgrade Pride will use all available legal means to overturn this decision.”

“Belgrade Pride will still ask people to gather to protest the ban,” Garina said. “It won’t be the same march as planned, but people will be out on the streets.”

“EuroPride is a lighthouse event for the whole queer community in Europe because the situation of LGBTI rights is not completely homogenous across Europe,” Reintke, a German lawmaker, said.

“In instances like this, it is so important for the community to stand together and say we are not going to back off.”

The EuroPride event scheduled for Saturday was banned by the Serbian government from occurring on Tuesday, with organizers vowing to push through despite pushback from officials in the area. This is a representational image. Mercedes Mehling/Unsplash.

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