Police and protesters clash at anti-gay rally

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Serbian police have clashed with anti-gay protesters shutting down much of central Belgrade. The protesters were demonstrating against a gay rights rally being held in the conservative Balkan state.

Some anti-gay protesters were seen handcuffed being led away by police following the clashes.

Authorities had mobilised mounted police and officers in riot gear in a tight security operation in the streets escorting the Gay Pride parade from its starting point in Majez Park, following repeated clashes between officers and anti-gay protesters earlier in the day.

However, Gay Pride marchers had to be evacuated by police after anti-gay protesters set fire to the political headquarters of President Boris Tadic.

Surveys show that about 60 percent of Serbians disapprove of homosexuality, and one third of those say violence should be used to interrupt gay public events.

In the last Belgrade march in 2001, dozens of gay activists and policemen were injured in clashes with nationalists, neo-Nazis and hooligans. A similar parade in 2009 was cancelled after protesters threatened to attack the march.