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I think Serbia's bad rap is often unfair. Sure, they have a massive problem with nationalism, and they still haven't got over that losing in war thing, but Serbs these days, excepting right-wing extremists, seem to just want a normal life.

That said, the bad rap is sometimes completely justified. Gay rights are one of those cases. This year, Serbia had its first gay pride parade since 2001 (the last time riots were so severe the pride parades were discontinued). Didn't turn out so well.

Quoth the BBC

Rioters threw petrol bombs and stones at armed police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

The office of the ruling Democratic Party was briefly set on fire, and at least one shot was fired.

Calm was eventually restored but more than 100 people, mostly police, were injured, with another 100 arrested.

Fortunately, though, the authorities seem to have had enough of hooligans tearing the city apart, looting, overturning cars, and serving Molotov cocktails in a fit of pique over other people's sex lives. Quoth The Guardian

Dragan Sutanovac, the defence minister and vice-president of the Democratic party, said part of the party's archive, warehouse and phone lines were destroyed.

"It is high time that we deal in a very democratic way, through the courts, with those who call themselves members of the patriotic organisations," Sutanovac said. "Is this Belgrade or the wild west?"

Slobodan Homen, a senior justice ministry official, said the state response would be fierce. He said the rioters had been identified using surveillance cameras in the city centre and could face up to eight years in prison.

Serbia will have to deal with this sooner or later, of course. Not only if it wants to join the EU, but because such a reaction by nationalistic groups tends not to make for a stable state. It is also instructive: Sure, supporting extremist sentiments may help you gain and keep power, but, as the saying goes, if you lie down with a dog you get fleas, and this dog is rabid, to boot. There are always consequences, and you may not be able to control them.

In short, such groups really shouldn't be encouraged by anyone. Some time, some day, it can bite you in the arse.

Oh, yes, my hat's off to the police. Intervening is riots is probably the most thankless peacetime job you can get. And the number of injured policemen (I think the final tally is 142) shows how violent that thing was.

Originally posted to Dauphin on Tue Oct 12, 2010 at 01:09 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

    by Dauphin on Tue Oct 12, 2010 at 01:09:06 AM PDT

  •  European Integration (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DBunn

    Requires Serbs to adopt Western values -- one of which is the tolerance of homosexuality.

    The culture change here is what people find threatening, because they are not sure what the world is going to be like when they come out the other side.

    It will probably be economically better for the working-class Serbs that you see rioting in these pictures.  But they are going to lose certain things.

    The West has taken its pound of flesh -- Kosovo -- and other things seem destined to go as well, like the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet.

    Government saved the markets and sacrified its people.

    by bink on Tue Oct 12, 2010 at 03:40:10 AM PDT

    •  A bit of nonsense (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dauphin, DBunn, Boreal Ecologist, MaikeH

      The threat to the alphabet looks like another one of those myths promulgated by Europhobes in several countries.

      The classic case is the fallacy that the EU would ban British sausages because of the lack of meat content. This was actually part of a script for the classic comedy series "Yes Minister". Even withing that, it was explicitly false and devised as a diversion from another policy.

      The Greeks still use the Greek alphabet and the Russian Cyrillic one is still in use in the Baltic states that use it. Look at a recent Euro note and you will see that.

      "Israel was born out of Jewish terrorism." Sir Gerald Kaufman, British MP and son of Holocaust survivor.

      by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Oct 12, 2010 at 04:25:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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