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German LGBT Rights Activist Hospitalized With Head Injuries After Attack In Serbia

The assailants reportedly shouted "We don't want foreigners in Belgrade" as they beat him with an ashtray.

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A 27-year-old German participating in an LGBT rights conference in the Serbian capital Belgrade is in critical condition following a beating on Saturday, the Associated Press reported.

Three men have been arrested in connection with the attack. The victim, whose name has not been released, was hospitalized with a serious head injury.

It is not immediately clear whether the attackers were motivated by anti-LGBT violence or xenophobia. A Serbian LGBT rights activist told the AP that the attackers shouted, "We don't want foreigners in Belgrade!" while beating him with an ashtray.

LGBT rights activists organized a march the next day with signs demanding, "Stop the Violence" under heavy protection of riot police. Since a 2010 pride march ended in an anti-LGBT riot, Serbian officials have repeatedly shut down LGBT-rights demonstrations, claiming they could not control anti-LGBT violence.

Serbia's poor record in dealing with anti-LGBT violence could complicate its path to becoming a full member of the European Union. Serbia has been a candidate for membership since 2012, and the E.U. has closely scrutinized the LGBT rights records of other states as they move towards full membership.

Neighboring Croatia mounted a major security effort to allow pride marches before it became a full member of the EU in 2013, and another neighbor, Montenegro, mobilized half its police force to secure a 2013 pride march in its capital in part to ease its path to EU membership.

J. Lester Feder is a world correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. His secure PGP fingerprint is 2353 DB68 8AA6 92BD 67B8 94DF 37D8 0A6F D70B 7211

Contact J. Lester Feder at lester.feder@buzzfeed.com.

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