Montenegro hosted its first LGBT Pride on October 20 in the city’s capital of Podgorica, but the event ended with tear gas, arrests, and an estimated 60 people injured.
Anti-LGBT extremists made their way past the nearly 2,000 police officers present and proceeded to throw rocks and firebombs.
According to the Huffington Post, 20 officers were injured. A reported 1,500 extremists were present at the event and nearly 60 were arrested.
However, pro-LGBT attendees remain proud of the event. “As of today, gay people are no longer invisible in Montenegro,” said Queer Montenegro leader Danijel Kalezic. “From today, these streets are ours as well. We were up against enormous challenges but we did it…From this day we are no longer invisible. This was the first Pride and every year there will be more and more of us.”
Almost 150 LGBT activists managed to walk peacefully through the streets of Podgorica with the aid of police officers while others were evacuated to a safe location in police vehicles. Attendees held signs that read “These streets belong to us, too,” “Kiss the Gays,” and “Everyone has their own right.”
According to a Montenegro survey reported by Aljazeera, 71 percent of Montenegro citizens believe homosexuality is an illness and 80 percent said it should be kept private.
Orthodox Bishop Amfilohije Radovic advised the organizers to cancel the event after calling it, “The Parade of the Shameless in Podgorica.” He views LGBT relationships as “unhealthy” for their lack of producing children.
“Everything that exists in the world was created in order… to be fruitful,” Radovic wrote in a four-page letter to the LGBT activists. “A tree that is not fruitful is cut down and thrown into the fire.”