PODGORICA – The Montenegrin capital, Podgorica, saw its first-ever gay pride parade.
Amid heightened security, several hundred participants took part in the October 20 march, carrying banners and rainbow flags.
The event's chief organizer, Daneijel Kalezic, told the marchers the parade was just the start. "We will fight until the end, until we achieve the freedom and support that we deserve like everyone else," he said.
While the march itself was peaceful, away from the parade, hooligans clashed with police around the city. Montenegrin media said between 300 and 400 people shattered shop windows and hurled rocks at police.
Authorities had deployed 2,000 police to protect the parade.
WATCH: A Slideshow From The Parade
The heightened security followed a series of threats and condemnations against homosexuality in the country, including from the Serbian Orthodox church.
Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic’s government, which is pursuing Montenegro’s membership in the European Union, had backed the idea of holding the parade in a safe environment.
Montenegrin Minister for Human Rights and Minority Issues Suad Numanovic hailed the event as a success.
"Montenegro will not let -- I can assure you -- any of its citizens feel less worthy as a person or feel unprotected by the state," he said.
With reporting by AFP and dpa