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Saturday 7 September 2019

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March In Protest Of First-Ever Pride Parade Held In Sarajevo
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A march that organizers said was set to promote traditional family values was held in Sarajevo on September 7, a day ahead of the Balkan country's first-ever gay-pride parade.

Sarajevo is the last of the Balkan capitals to schedule a pride march after neighboring countries moved to improve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights as part of efforts toward European Union membership.

The marchers opposed to the LGBT rights event held banners and balloons, and their protest ended without requiring police attention.

But Bosnian police have called for reinforcements to protect the public at the planned September 8 parade amid concerns groups with strong anti-gay views may try to disrupt the event.

Bosnia-Herzegovina remains highly conservative and torn by ethnic divisions stemming from a 1992-95 civil war.

With reporting by AP
Russian soccer players Aleksandr Kokorin (left) and Pavel Mamayev (file photo)

Two Russian soccer players have been granted early release after serving less than half of their prison sentences for hooliganism over beatings they inflicted in Moscow last year.

Krasnodar FC midfielder Pavel Mamayev and Zenit St. Petersburg striker Aleksandr Kokorin were convicted in May and sentenced to 18 and 17 months in prison for their roles in two attacks over one day in October.

But they will walk free on parole within 10 days following a decision at a closed-door hearing at a correctional facility in the Belgorod region, September 6 reports said.

In October, Mamayev, Kokorin, and others in their group attacked Denis Pak, an ethnic Korean official from the Industry and Trade Ministry, in a Moscow coffee shop after he reportedly rebuked them for misbehaving.

Video taken by a surveillance camera and broadcast by national television stations showed Pak being hit over the head with a chair and slapped in the face.

In another attack the same day, they beat the driver of TV journalist Olga Ushakova outside a Moscow strip club.

The incidents threatened to dent Russian soccer's reputation months after its largely successful hosting of the 2018 World Cup.

A Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) deputy director, Valery Maksimenko, was quoted as saying that Kokorin and Mamayev "have long been corrected and now they are completely different people."

With reporting by Interfax

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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