The streets of Sarajevo were bursting with merriment on Sunday 8 September as the several thousand participants in the first Bosnian-Herzegovinian Pride March paraded through the city demanding protection of the human rights for all.
The concerns expressed during the build-up about possible violence by forces that have used homophobia as political weapon proved unfounded. Anti-Pride manifestations on the eve and the morning of the parade took place peacefully. Along the prada route, police took all the necessary security precautions, and the day passed without incident.
Activist Sanjin Bužo summed up the general feeling among the participants:
We are a proof that this state, with all its limitations, can ensure the rule of human rights. When it actually wants, it can, any where and any time!
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) consists of two entities, the Federation of BIH and Republika Srpska; the Federation is subdivided into 10 cantons. The highest government official of the Sarajevo canton kept his promise and joined the Pride Parade.
Tweet 1: I don't expect much from the politicians today. They mostly invoke EU values as a mix of demagogy and populism. But at least I hope some of the social-democrat ekipe (SDP, DF, NS) tweeps like Edin Forto, Srdjan Mandic and some others, while from Republika Srpska only Boislav Borenović.
Tweet 2: The Prime Minister of Sarajevo Canton Edin Forto didn't betray. #DoorPlease
Balkan Insight, however, reported that while top national-level Bosnian politicians “failed to attend the march, the US Ambassador to Bosnia, Eric Nelson, showed his support along with many other diplomats and representatives of non-governmental organizations in Bosnia.”
Parade participants stressed that as they fulfill their obligations toward the state, they count on the state to fulfill its obligations towards them, as it should for any other citizen.