A top official at Europe's main human rights watchdog has voiced concern after Belgrade banned a gay pride event for the second year running.
Keith Whitmore, of the Council of Europe, called on the authorities in Belgrade to reconsider their decision. The city should respect the right of gay people to free assembly, he said.
The European Commission warned that the decision went against fundamental human rights upheld by the EU. Serbia won EU candidate status earlier this year.
But Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic described the ban on Saturday's event as a victory for Serbia . He added: Nobody will be telling anyone what should happen in Belgrade, be it the EU or any of the countries of the world, or any
extremist or radical organisation.
He also condemned a Swedish art exhibition being held in Belgrade to coincide with Pride Week. Ecce Homo features photographs which appear to depict Jesus Christ, naked or wearing high heels, among gay people.
The 2011 Belgrade Pride parade was banned at the last moment supposedly out of fear of a repetition of violence in 2010, when dozens were injured and arrested as protesters opposed to the parade clashed with police.
Serbian authorities have banned a gay pride march in Belgrade for a third consecutive year.
Prime Minister Ivica Dacic claimed that state officials decided to ban Saturday's event because they feared a repeat of violence in 2010, when extremists attacked a gay pride march in the cityl.
Dacic said the government was also banning a gathering of right-wing groups that planned to attack the event. Authorities also rescheduled several soccer matches in Belgrade because they are attended by hooligans aligned with extremists.
Protesting the ban, about 100 gay pride activists peacefully marched past the downtown Serbian government headquarters.
Patriarch Irinej, the head of Serbia's Christian Orthodox church, has spoken out against the gay pride march. He claimed such a parade of shame would cast a moral shadow over the country.