Amid tight security, Bosnia held its
first LGBT Pride parade on Sunday.
According to Radio Free Europe, an
estimated 1,000 people took part in the march that began at an
eternal flame to the victims of World War II and made its way down
Sarajevo's main street to the nation's parliament building, where a
rally was held.
Marchers were accompanied by a heavy
police presence – more than 1,000 police officers, according to
Opponents of LGBT rights used the same
route to protest on Saturday. The several hundred people who
participated said that they wanted to promote “traditional family
values,” the AP reported.
U.S. Ambassador Eric Nelson, who is
openly gay, offered his support in a video message recorded ahead of
“The US Embassy expresses support to
the first Pride March in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The goal of the
pride parade is equal human rights for all. Me and my partner
appreciate the welcome and respect we received here. I will take part
in the Pride March to give support to all LGBTI community members and
their families,” Nelson said, speaking in the local language.
Nelson's support was criticized.
Leaflets distributed around Sarajevo included an image of Nelson in
front of a rainbow flag and the headline “Gay is not OK” in red
“I want to send [Nelson] the message
that this is my country while he is just a guest here,” Mujo
Aganovic, a veteran, told the crowd at Saturday's counter-protest.
“All those who want to promote in public what they describe as
their sexual orientation, especially when it is opposed by 3 million
people, we view them as provocateurs.”
According to Radio Free Europe, Nelson
marched in Sunday's parade.