EU official: Anti-gay riots in Serbia send wrong message

BELGRADE, Serbia — An EU official said Monday that Serbia's failure to prevent an anti-gay riot could hurt its bid to join the European Union, but the US Embassy praised police for doing all they could to protect the gay pride march from far-right activists.
On Sunday, Serbian police fought running battles with thousands of far-right supporters who tried to disrupt the march in downtown Belgrade by hurling Molotov cocktails and stun grenades. More than 150 people were hurt and nearly 250 were arrested, police said.
Jelko Kacin, in charge of the European Parliament's evaluation reports on Serbia, said in a statement the anti-gay riots "show an elementary lack" of tolerance for minority rights in Serbia and the "inefficiency" of the state in preventing such a trend.
"A very bad message was sent from Belgrade" that could hurt its bid to join the EU, the Slovenian official said.