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Will Serbia’s gay pride march help it get into the EU?

Hundreds turned out for the first gay pride march held in four years in Belgrade, Serbia, on Sunday. 

Gay-rights activists took to the streets waving rainbow-colored flags in the country’s capital as heavily armed police officers patrolled the event on foot and in armored vehicles, the BBC reported.

The event was meant to be a show of tolerance for Serbia, a historically conservative nation, as it continues to seek admittance into the European Union.

According to the AP, Serbia has faced criticism from EU officials in the past following the country’s ban on the gay pride march after violence broke out in 2010 between police and extremists, leaving more than 100 people injured.

Added police presence and security were sent in by the country’s leaders amid threats from extreme nationalists.

Two-thirds of Serbian respondents to a survey four years ago said they viewed homosexuality as a disease, the BBC reported. Anti-gay rights protesters demonstrated on Saturday night in Belgrade in opposition to Sunday’s planned march.

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