European Western Balkans

First-ever Pride March successfully held in Sarajevo

Pride Flag; Photo: Pixabay

SARAJEVO – Following North Macedonia’s Pride March in June, Bosnia and Herzegovina is now the final country in the region to hold its inaugural manifestation, which took place on Sunday without incidents.

The event, carried out under tight security measures, was concluded without an incident. More than 1000 participants gathered to promote human rights, freedom of assembly and expression.

“We wish to build a society of non-violence and unity, where nobody will have to hide love and live within four walls”, stated one of the organisers Lejla Huremović.

European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn welcomed the Pride on Twitter, wishing the organizers a peaceful event.

“This is an important step in the protection of the fundamental rights of all citizens in BiH, including of LGBTI persons, who have the right to live their lives free from discrimination, abuse and threats, and enjoy full social inclusion”, tweeted Hahn.

The March was supported by the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the United States Embassy.

Chargé d’Affaires of European Delegation to BiH Khaldoun Sinno, alongside Delegations’s team, participated at the event, together with Ambassador of the United States Eric Nelson and Ambassador of UK Matt Field.

Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe Dunja Mijatović also endorsed the event.

“Happy to see that the first Pride March in Sarajevo went well. I congratulate the organisers and welcome the authorities’ efforts to ensure its safety”, Mijatović tweeted.

No leading Bosnian politicians attended the event, which was supported by human rights activists from Belgrade, Tirana, Skopje, and Podgorica, BIRN reports.

Several counter-walks took place over the weekend, in support of “traditional family values”.

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