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

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Riot Police Battle Right-Wing Serbian Nationalists.

Serbian turns corner embracing democratic values

EXCLUSIVE – By Tanya Domi

Editor’s note: Tanya Domi has an extensive background in human rights and LGBT politics, both domestic and international. (See her bio below.) This is her first official piece as a regular contributor to The New Civil Rights Movement.

NEW YORK, Oct. 10, 2010–For the first time in Serbian history, an estimated 1,000 gay pride marchers hit the streets of Belgrade today, under the protection of hundreds of riot police, who were forced to deploy tear gas to protect marchers, as they battled right-wing nationalist rioters who attacked the parade at various points by throwing bricks, bottles and upending vehicles, along its route in downtown Belgrade.

Nearly 140 persons were injured; mostly police and 17 civilians, of whom 57 sought medical attention, according to B92 News.  Police used armored vehicles in battle with more than 6,000 right-wing “hooligans,” who sang patriotic football songs while throwing bricks, stones and bottles at police. B92 also reports that 207 were arrested and 100 remain in jail tonight.

Serbian Human and Minority Rights Minister Svetozar Čiplić and representatives of the ruling Democratic Party, the Liberal party, NGOs and European Union joined the LGBT marchers in solidarity behind a banner that said “We Can Together” while chanting “together against fascism”.

What a difference a year makes, when Prime Minister Mirko Cvetokic in 2009 told LGBT organizers that they could not hold a Pride parade because of safety concerns and if they persisted to march they would be found financially liable for all damages to city property.

President Boris Tadic’s government, feeling the pressure of European Union accession criteria that stipulates to adopting non-discrimination legislation against LGBT persons (and demonstrated respect for the rule of law) and added pressure increased with wide public support by the International Community urging Belgrade to host a successful gay pride parade after a decade of unfulfilled efforts by dedicated LGBT activists.  Tadic’s Western leaning government finally came through by putting a significant and well organized police presence on the streets of Belgrade.

The Serbian political ruling class came face-to-face with its violent legacy of xenophobic nationalism today as the streets of Belgrade became a new battleground against fellow Serbian citizens who are gay.  This new target is not a significant departure from its sordid recent past as Serb nationalists in power targeted and demonized “other” populations and perpetuated horrific crimes against Bosniaks, Croats and Kosovars in neighboring states.

These hooligans tout themselves as patriotic and religious Serbs who protect all that is sacred about Serbia according to their definition and are entwined with radical elements of the Serbian Orthodox Church, creating a clero-fascism axis that remains a potent political force within Serbia today.  An illustration of just how perverse the thinking of Serbian Orthodox priests about gays was in evidence after the march concluded when priests descended on “sacred space” in downtown Belgrade, issuing prayers while “cleansing” with incense, which had been “polluted” by the presence of homosexuals, according to local sources to this blog.

What is different now, is that Tadic, together with State Prosecutor Tomo Zorić, immediately announced after Pride had concluded that prosecutors and the police will take all necessary steps to identify rioters engaged in attacks on the police and marchers and were firm in commitment to enforce the rule of law for crimes of intolerance.

Despite the violence, Serbia turned a corner today toward embrace of Democratic values and rule of law in its efforts to support those among them who are LGBT.  The government enforced the right to freedom of expression and assembly as LGBT proudly walked the streets of Belgrade for the first time in history.

Nonetheless, the government has considerable unfinished business:  an important arrest awaits fugitive Bosnian General Ratko Mladic, believed to be living in Serbia, who is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity and must be turned over to the International War Crimes Tribunal of the Former Yugoslavia in the Hague, Netherlands.  Ongoing cooperation with the Court is a necessary hurdle for Serbia’s admission to the EU.

After the Pride march concluded today, marchers and their supporters held a party to celebrate. Despite the violence, LGBT marchers and their supporters had reason to celebrate and so should the government, who finally has thus far, taken all the actions expected of a well functioning democracy.

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. Her previous work in Bosnia and Herzegovina implementing the Dayton Peace Accords, 1996-2000, included stints as chair for the OSCE Media Experts Commission during the 1998 general elections, counselor to U.S. Amb. Robert Barry and as executive assistant to the late U.S. Amb. Robert Frowick.  She later served as Spokesperson and Director of Press and Public Information under Amb. Barry, 1999-2000.

Prior to working abroad, Domi became a nationally known LGBT rights activist in the United States as the legislative director and military freedom initiative director at the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce, 1992-1994, where she worked to repeal the ban on lesbians and gays who served in the military and was directly involved in drafting and original introduction of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 1994.  She has been actively involved in the effort to repeal DADT during the past two years as a blogger and speaker, with expertise as a result of her 15 years of service in the U.S. Army as an enlisted soldier and commissioned officer.

Domi has worked in a dozen countries and most recently was a consultant in Southern Sudan where she provided training on developing presentation skills to the public and the media for the president, vice-president and several cabinet ministers of the Government of Southern Sudan.  Domi has a Masters of Arts in Human Rights from Columbia University, with a regional specialty in East Central Europe and The Balkans.

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Trump Jr. Winds Up in Felony Poaching Scandal in Utah After Killing a Bear Baited With Pastries: Report

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Second-generation New York real estate heir Donald Trump, Jr. is caught up in yet another hunting scandal.

Utah hunting guide Wade Lemon is facing five years in prison for baiting a bear that was killed by Trump, Jr. on May 18, 2018, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Saturday.

But the New York developer may not have been familiar enough with western hunting to know about the felony poaching.

“Trump Jr. is not named in a recent filing against Lemon, but the DNR confirmed his identity as the person named in the felony complaint as Lemon’s “client” on the hunt. Prosecutors have indicated there was no evidence showing Trump Jr. would have known about the alleged baiting that went on during the hunt,” the newspaper reported. “Without naming Trump Jr., Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said the hunter in the case ‘was actually a victim and a now a possible witness in a fraudulent scheme to lead the hunter to believe it was actually a legitimate Wild West hunting situation.'”

Trump, Jr. posted pictures of his hunting trip to Instagram.

“On Sept. 3, 2020, The Utah Investigative Journalism Project requested files on closed investigations against Wade Lemon Hunting. The DNR provided files on cases dating back to 2009 except for the case on the 2018 Trump Jr. hunt. DNR had decided to reopen that case and denied the records request, stating the release would interfere with the now ‘open’ investigation,” the newspaper reported. “DNR turned the case over to the Utah Attorney General’s Office. Utah Attorney General Reyes has close ties to Trump, having campaigned for him and even flying to Nevada to investigate the election results after Trump’s defeat at the polls and signed on to a lawsuit claiming ‘unlawful election results.’ The Attorney General’s Office reinvestigated the case for months, then handed it off to the Davis County Attorney’s Office to screen for filing of charges.”

Trump, Jr.’s guided hunting trip resulted in kills of a black bear and mountain lion.

“Charging documents allege Lemon’s outfitters illegally used bait on the bear shot by Trump Jr. According to the document, a witness identified Lemon and his employees during the hunt in May 2018 and was able to identify Lemon over radio traffic, giving instructions to his employees,” the newspaper reported. “The illegal bait, ‘a pile of grain, oil and pastries’ was discovered with a trail camera pointed right on it with ‘WLH’ (for Wade Lemon Hunting) written on the side and with Lemon’s own telephone number, according to court documents. The charging documents also include evidence from a subordinate confirming Lemon had him place the bait in the location several weeks before the hunt.”

The guide Trump, Jr. hired for his hunt has been investigated before.

“Hunting guides who cater to the wealthy elite have a lot at stake in ensuring successful hunts. These companies employ hunters to scout woods, deserts, mountains and plains for the biggest game, to ensure these high-profile clients have the highest chance for a successful hunt. According to DNR, Wade Lemon Hunting has been investigated eight times for allegedly breaking the law to ensure a successful hunt, though he was not charged with a felony until Tuesday,” the newspaper explained.

The vast majority of game taken in America is from hunters who do not require a hired guide.

The former president’s eldest son has previously had scandals over killing an elephant in Africa, killing an endangered sheep in Mongolia, and killing pregnant prairie dogs in Montana.

 

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Adam Schiff Prosecutes the Case Against Ginni Thomas on MSNBC After ‘Stunning’ Revelations

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The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee offered a brutal analysis after a bombshell new report on efforts by Ginni Thomas seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

“Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Arizona lawmakers after the 2020 election to set aside Joe Biden’s popular-vote victory and choose “a clean slate of Electors,” according to emails obtained by The Washington Post. The emails, sent by Ginni Thomas to a pair of lawmakers on Nov. 9, 2020, argued that legislators needed to intervene because the vote had been marred by fraud,” the newspaper reported.

MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace interviewed Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) for analysis.

Schiff, a former federal prosecutor who was the impeachment manager during Trump’s first trial and is a member of the House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, was asked by Wallace if the select committee would interview Ginni Thomas.

IN OTHER NEWS: GOP finds new scapegoat for baby formula outrage

“There are several stunning things to me about what is publicly known and has been revealed about Ginni Thomas. Here, she is weighing in with state legislators in Arizona, seeking to get them to essentially send a bogus slate of electors, that didn’t represent who won the popular election in Arizona,” Schiff said.

He referenced legal proceedings over the subpoena of “coup memo” author John Eastman.

“And you know, the judge in California, Judge Carter and the case involving Eastman, this lawyer, describes what the former president was involved in as a criminal conspiracy.”

“That was a conspiracy to interfere with the joint session, to defraud people, and here you have the wife of a Supreme Court justice engaged in a parallel effort to get Arizona to improperly cast aside the votes of millions,” he charged. “And also to add to it, her husband, on the Supreme Court, writing a dissent in a case, arguing providing records to Congress that might have revealed those same emails.”

READ MORE: The Buffalo shooter had a toothache — an extremism expert explains the bizarre reason it matters

“That conflict of interest just screams at you,” Schiff said.

Watch the segment below or at this link.

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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‘Fear-Driven Alliance’: Conservative Explains Why Far-Right CPAC ‘Opportunists’ and ‘Paranoids’ Are Meeting in Hungary

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The rise of authoritarianism and fascism growing within the Republican Party was discussed by the opening panel on MSNBC’s “The Reidout” on Friday.

Host Joy Reid noted how the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is being held in Hungary this year, which is ruled by strongman Viktor Orbán.

“They have elections, of a sort, but also hamper voters’ abilities to make informed choices and heavily control the outcome that the elections are essentially a show,” she explained. “These are the autocratic dreams of a far-right leader obsessed with solidifying a Christian monoculture and who, in 2014, declared his intention to build an illiberal new state citing China, Russia and Turkey as role models. Flash forward to today where CPAC, the once conservative gathering that is now simply a cesspool of the far-right running amok, is holding its conference in Budapest.”

For analysis, Reid interviewed conservative writer Tom Nichols.

Nichols warned “there is a nihilistic, fear-driven alliance here with a group of opportunists, and I want to get back to this issue of about Hungary, the really dangerous thing here is that some of these people believe very deeply in — in some of this stuff and yet others, and I would say people like [Tucker] Carlson and Matt Schlapp and some of the other people capering about in Budapest, don’t believe in any of this and don’t believe in anything of this other than the extension of their own personal power and wealth.

“And when you have this coalition of shallow, empty opportunists along with with a group of paranoids, basically, then you have a really dangerous movement because each side has to keep upping the ante to kind of justify why they are doing the things they are doing,” he explained.

“A lot of this is an act, but the problem is you then paint yourself into a corner… You have to start actually trying to put forward policies and carry things out that, that make you look as if you believe the things that you’re doing. And then after a while, whether it’s an act or its opportunism is no longer relevant: You have become the thing you’ve been prancing about and pretending to be,” he explained.

Watch the segment below or at this link.

 

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