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.