European Union officials have criticized the Serbian government's decision to ban a gay pride march for the third consecutive year because of threats from right-wing groups.

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European Union officials have criticized the Serbian government’s decision to ban a gay pride march for the third consecutive year because of threats from right-wing groups.

EU’s Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule described the move Saturday as a “missed opportunity to show respect for fundamental rights” at a time when Serbia seeks to open entry talks with the bloc.

EU envoy for Serbia Jelko Kacin says it was the “wrong decision at a wrong time.”

Serbia’s authorities have expressed fear that the event Saturday could lead to a repeat of violence from 2010, when a pride celebration erupted in daylong clashes between police and extremists.

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Serbia’s deputy prime minister Aleksandar Vucic says the ban was “in the interest of the citizens.” He insists that “hooligans have not defeated the state.”

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