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Belgrade Gay Pride Banned By Serbian Government To Avoid “Major Chaos”



The Serbian government bans the Belgrade Pride Parade for “security reasons,” but in the final analysis, President Boris Tadic is the biggest loser. By making this decision, Tadic limits his domestic political options at home while distancing himself from European supporters.

The Serbian government’s National Security Council announced Friday that it could not effectively protect LGBTI participants and their allies for Sunday’s planned Belgrade Gay Pride march and declared the march effectively banned.

Ivica Dacic, Serbia’s Minister of the Interior said that its crack police force was not capable of maintaining public order and that the Gay Pride march had been banned to avoid “major chaos” including property destruction and disturbance of public order and peace.”


“Serbia stood up to the Nazis, but they can’t stand up to the Neo-Nazis?”


The Ministry also prohibited planned protests opposing Belgrade Pride by Serbian ultra nationalist groups, including Obraz, Nasi 1389 and the Movement of 1389, all supported by the Serbian Orthodox Church and  all played a major role in last year’s violence that marred 2010 Belgrade Pride.

Obraz is committed to a struggle against those groups which it views as enemies of the Serbian people, which includes homosexuals.

President Boris Tadic said that the Pride parade was being prohibited to protect LGBT persons. The Belgrade Pride Committee reluctantly announced it would comply with the directive.

“We will not invite people to the streets because of the ban on holding the parade,” said Goran Miletić, an Organizing Committee member for Belgrade Pride, according to a B-92 News report.

Miletić responded to The New Civil Rights Movement request for an updated statement, offering, “We are still in shock and doing actions with our guests, but will try to give a new statement shortly.”

Dacic issued an official decision on Friday disallowing the Belgrade parade and rally permit that was posted to the official Pride Parade website without comment under the title of “Official Ban.”  The police directorate stated, “it was determined that conflicting circumstances from Article 11, Paragraph 1 of the Law on Gathering of citizens of RS [Republic of Serbia] i.e. that during the meeting [Pride] there may appear obstruction of public transport, endangering health, public moral or safety of individuals and properties.”

The decision was not posted to the Government of Serbia’s websites which are maintained in the Cyrillic Serbian and Latinic alphabets and an English language website.

The Serbian government’s decision to ban Belgrade Gay Pride was not welcomed by European Union (EU) officials in Brussels, especially EU officials who have been supporting Serbia’s application to become an EU accession candidate. In fact, Ambassador Vincent Degert, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, was reported to have urged the government to respect freedom of speech and assembly and to hold the march and rally, despite announced intentions by ultra nationalists, who marred last year’s Pride event with violence that resulted in nearly 200 police injured on Belgrade’s streets and more than 150 protesters were arrested.

READ:  Belgrade Gay Pride Marchers Attacked By Violent Anti-Gay Demonstrators In Historic Parade

Ulrike Lunacek, an Austrian MEP and  co-president of the European Parliament’s all-party LGBT ‘Intergroup’ and substitute member of the South Eastern Europe delegation, said the cancellation was “profoundly disturbing that Serbian citizens will not be able to  march for tolerance, acceptance and equality on Sunday.”

In a press statement Lunacek said, “I deeply regret that Serbian citizens will not be able to march for tolerance, acceptance and equality on Sunday. The Serbian authorities have a duty to care for everyone’s safety, but it is profoundly disturbing that the leadership of a country seeking EU candidate status and membership – supported by a majority in the European Parliament – feel incapable of providing such safety for all citizens.”

“The government has to be much, much stricter towards extremists whipping up violence in the country. A society that cannot express itself for fear of violence is not a free, democratic society,” she added.

Serbia dramatically advanced its potential candidacy for EU accession in May when it arrested Ratko Mladic, a former Bosnian Serb Army general, an indicted war criminal and 16-year fugitive, who had been wanted since July 1995 for the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

READ:  Bosnian Serb General Mladic To Stand Trial for  Crimes Against Humanity

But Serbia’s latest move in canceling Belgrade Gay Pride, follows consistently unhelpful actions in Bosnia and Kosovo and calls into question its political will and actual competence to carry through on EU requirements for accession, including protecting the lives of all its citizens, especially its national minorities and LGBTI persons.

Ivo Skoric, a Balkan expert and correspondent for (Croatia Alternative) said that the banning of Belgrade Gay Pride was a “sign of weakness–not strength, by the Serbian government.”

“Either they [the police] are weak and incapable of doing their jobs, or they themselves are members or sympathetic to Obraz and 1389 Nasi,” he said.

Given Serbia’s storied historical past in fighting the  fascists and the Third Reich during World War II, Skoric sees the contemporary Serbian government’s inability to battle and control the ultra Neo-Nazi leaning nationalists as a curious failing.

“What happened to them since the 1940s?” Skoric asked. “They stood up to the Nazis, but they can’t stand up to the Neo-Nazis, who are a mere shadow of the past.”

Serbia’s “foreign policy” dalliances with Bosnia’s Republika Srpska, the Bosnian Serb entity and its overt support for guerilla type insurgencies by Kosovar Serbs in Kosovo, a recently declared independent country, underscores Serbia’s absurd first rail of contemporary Serbian politics–that it will never give up Kosovo , illustrated by a special graphic on the Serbian government website that states “Kosovo is Serbia”.  (Kosovo is a former autonomous province of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, dominated by a majority of Kosovar Albanians and is the geographical capital of Serbian Orthodox churches, monasteries and the location of Kosovo Polje, where Serbs were massacred by the Ottoman Turks in June 1389).

During the past year, violence has riddled Gay Pride events in Moscow and also in Split, Croatia. But in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, Gay Pride was held without incident in June and its organizers had a historical first face-t0-face supportive  meeting with President Ivo Josipovic.

 READ: Croatia President, Prime Minister Condemn Violence At Gay Pride Parade

On the eve of Belgrade’s Pride weekend, EU members of Parliament expressed their deep regret in Serbia’s actions prohibiting the march and rally.

In Belgrade, Slovene Jelko Kacin MEP and the European Parliament Rapporteur for Serbia’s accession and member of the LGBT Human Rights Intergroup, said, “The decision to ban Pride Parade is a sovereign decision of the Serbian Government and the National Security Council. I receive such a decision with deep regret; as a matter of fact, it deprives citizens of the constitutional and legal right to free expression and peaceful assembly. A state seeking to access the EU must guarantee the human rights of its citizens. I have come to Belgrade to give my full support the pride’s organisers.”

A press release indicated that the parliamentary members will take note of this weekend’s events in its upcoming accession report for Serbia, planned for early 2012. Those final words are an ominous ones for Tadic. In refusing to confront domestic radicals and subsequently embracing ultra nationalists, he has alienated his pro-Western Serbian voters at home and sent confusing, if not enraging signals to Europeans, who have been cheering him on from Brussels. Now, Tadic’s once thought to be golden halo has been exposed to sizzling hot air, producing a tarnished outcome.


Tanya L. Domi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University who teaches about human rights in Eurasia and is a Harriman Institute affiliated faculty member. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi worked internationally for more than a decade on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights, gender issues, sex trafficking, and media freedom.

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RNC Taps Right Wing Extremists to Head Group Designed to Expand GOP Appeal in Wake of Midterm Losses



Embattled Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel is launching two advisory groups in an effort to expand the party’s appeal to voters and examine what went wrong in the wake of stunning, historic midterm election losses – and she’s turning to some of the right’s most extreme leaders to perform the investigations.

Political analysts on both sides of the aisle generally agree that Donald Trump, Trumpism, the party’s lurch to far right wing extremism including white nationalism, white supremacy, Christian nationalism, antisemitism, authoritarianism, fascism, and the “Big Lie” of stolen elections hurt, not helped candidates in the 2022 midterms.

McDaniel has now tapped some of the very purveyors of that failed extremism to lead the shrinking party’s efforts to broaden its outreach and correct its errors.

“The RNC is tapping nearly a dozen people to serve in what it’s calling a ‘Republican Party Advisory Council’ – a group that includes former Donald Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, evangelical leader Tony Perkins and a pair of Senate candidates who ran this year,” Politico reports.

READ MORE: Franklin Graham’s Ugly Lie Ahead of Senate Vote on Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Tony Perkins is a far right wing religious extremist and anti-LGBTQ activist who decades ago reportedly had ties to white supremacist groups, which he has denied. For decades he has been president of the Family Research Council, which appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

Deeply embedded in Republican theocratic politics, Perkins was appointed twice by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent federal government body that has a history of advancing the agenda of America’s Evangelical Christian movement.

He is also a past president of the highly-secretive far Christian right organization, Council for National Policy (CNP).

READ MORE: Hate Group Head Tony Perkins Prays for ‘Conflict’ and ‘Gridlock’ to ‘Settle Upon’ DC if Biden Enacts His Agenda

CNP’s members are believed to include far right activist and lobbyist Ginni Thomas, whose attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results have been the subject of numerous reports. Also, Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, which has faced allegations of racism, and far right conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi. Other members of the Council for National Policy include two other heads of organizations that appear on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups: Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel; and Tim Wildmon, President of the American Family Association.

“The panel will also include former Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, who in the wake of his loss has called on the party to move on from ‘consultant one-size-fits-all strategies,'” Politico reports.

READ MORE: ‘Lowest Common Denominator’: Trump Refuses to Denounce White Supremacist He Dined With Despite Advisers’ Urgings

Masters is a “Big Lie” purveyor who has also promoted the white nationalist conspiracy theory of the “Great Replacement,” which falsely claims immigrants – people of color – are “replacing” white Americans.

Separately, Politico adds, the RNC is commissioning an investigation into what went wrong, commonly referred to as an “autopsy” to ensure in future elections the same decisions are not made. That work will be lead by current RNC members.


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Questions Swirl Around Herschel Walker as New Report Shows His Georgia Residence Was Rented Out for Over a Decade



Where Herschel Walker lives has been a question since before he officially announced his candidacy as a Republican for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia. Numerous reports have looked into claims he lives in Texas and not the Peach State, which some Georgia voters might find problematic, but new reporting exposes what could lead to tax or voting fraud investigations.

Walker’s Georgia home, according to reporting from The Daily Beast‘s Roger Sollenberger, is owned by his wife, who for years has rented it out.

When Walker announced his candidacy, after a strong push from Donald Trump, it “was widely known at the time that the Republican hopeful had been living in Texas for decades, though he has claimed to maintain a residence in Atlanta for ’17 years.’ Less widely known, however, was that Walker’s wife collected tens of thousands of dollars in rental income for that residence, according to his 2021 financial disclosure forms.”

READ MORE: ‘The Child Would Not Be Safe’: Woman Who Says Herschel Walker Pressured Her to Have Abortion Says She Felt ‘Threatened’

While it is unclear if the home was rented out when Walker officially launched his Senate run, the “house doubled as the Walker campaign’s first official address when he launched his bid in August 2021. Fulton County tax and property records show the home is solely owned by Walker’s wife, Julie Blanchard, who also collected rental income from 2020 and 2021 ranging from $15,000 to $50,000, according to the disclosure—defining the asset as ‘Georgia residence.'”

CNN last week reported that “Republican Herschel Walker is getting a tax break intended only for a primary residence this year on his home in the Dallas, Texas, area, despite running for Senate in Georgia.”

“In Texas, homeowner regulations say you can only take the exemption on your ‘principal residence,'” CNN’s K-File reported. “Walker is listed to get a homestead tax exemption in Texas in 2022, saving the Senate candidate approximately $1,500 and potentially running afoul of both Texas tax rules and some Georgia rules on establishing residency for the purpose of voting or running for office.”

READ MORE: Raphael Warnock Blasts Herschel Walker Over Kanye West Endorsement: ‘My Mama Told Me Birds of a Feather Flock Together’

Even after he launched his campaign for the U.S. Senate Walker still filed for the Texas tax exemption.

On Monday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on a nine-page complaint filed with the state’s Attorney General’s office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The complaint alleges “Herschel Walker appears to have committed a felony in August 2021 when he registered to vote in Georgia,” and “Herschel Walker appears to have committed a felony when he voted in the 2022 Georgia primary and general elections.” These are allegations and have not been investigated by authorities.

When he announced is candidacy, “Walker’s main GOP rival challenged him to ‘move here, pay taxes here, register and vote in some elections’ before running,” The Journal-Constitution notes. “Warnock’s allies have taken a similar line of attack, framing the Republican as an out-of-state charlatan.”

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Trumps Latest Tactic? Attacking Special Counsel’s Sister-in-Law



Donald Trump is going all-in on attacks against the family of special counsel Jack Smith. Instead of mounting a defense for his actions, Trump deployed one of his top tactics: attacking anyone trying to hold him accountable.

One of Trump’s right-wing allies posted a claim that Smith’s sister-in-law, who is allegedly a psychologist and whose patients were “crying” and “sobbing” over Trump’s 2016 election.

“And I’m supposed to get a fair shake from this person, who’s under tremendous pressure from his family, but he is actually worse than they are?” Trump rambled on his personal social media site. “Can Republicans, and fair-minded people, generally, allow this to happen? Jack Smith is nothing less than a hit man for Obama, his Attorney General Eric Holder, and Andrew Weissmann. Weaponization. Our Country is in big trouble, a real mess!”

Smith was hired by Trump’s administration to serve as an acting United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee during Trump’s first year in office, his biography states. During this same time, the new Trump Justice Department was firing most of the U.S. Attorneys hired under President Barack Obama’s administration. One of those biggest names was Preet Bharara, who helped Trump with the transition while serving as the U.S. Attorney Southern District of New York. He was fired the same month that Trump hired Smith in 2017.



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