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PHOTOS: Serbia Pride a Success Even With Injuries, Smoke Bombs

PHOTOS: Serbia Pride a Success Even With Injuries, Smoke Bombs

PHOTOS: Serbia Pride a Success Even With Injuries, Smoke Bombs

Police protected parade participants from violent extremists, a big change from four years ago.

Serbia Pride took place on Sunday in the capital of Belgrade, but it wasn't without incident. Two policemen were injured trying to protect Pride participants from right-wing extremists and "soccer hooligans" attacked a liberal radio and television station with flares and smoke bombs, according to the Associated Press.

Acknowledging the violence that broke out at a Pride event in 2010, Serbian police came armed with water cannons, armored vehicles, and riot gear. Thankfuly, Sunday's event was less chaotic and violent than four years ago. LGBT activists called the relatively peaceful Pride a sign of a changing Serbia, which is hoping to join the European Union. Another big improvement from the past: Belgrade's mayor joined in the parade.

Of course, much still needs to change in the conservative Balkan country. After the Pride parade, antigay groups led a counter-march meant to "cleanse" the city of the LGBT event. See the scene in Belgrade below:

A man walks past a anti-gay graffiti, reading 'Stop the parade of shame', in Belgrade on September 26.

 

A child climbs a tree as Serbian ultra-nationalists standoff with police in Belgrade, on September 27 against the upcoming Gay Pride parade, Serbia's first since 2010, which is being seen as a test of the EU hopeful's commitment to protect minority rights. The Belgrade Pride, which takes place on September 28, is the first such march in four years that has not been banned by the authorities over security risks, although far-right groups and ultra-nationalists have again threatened to protest against it.

Serbian special police units stand guard ahead of Sunday's Pride Parade in Belgrade on September 28. Police sealed off downtown Belgrade over first gay pride parade in four years.

LGBT activists march during the Pride Parade in Belgrade.

An activist holds a banner written in English.

A couple kisses during the first Belgrade Pride Parade in four years.

Serbian ultra-nationalists hold a banner showing Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj reading 'We don't want to join the EU' during a protest against the Pride Parade. With tight security, the march went off without incident, led off from the main government building, with hundreds of participants carrying rainbow-colored balloons and flags, and banners proclaiming 'Pride', 'Peace' and 'Love.'

Serbian ultra-nationalists standoff with police.

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