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Serbia to open first shelter for gays

ASSOCIATED PRESS

BELGRADE, Serbia -- Authorities have announced plans to set up Serbia's first shelter to protect gays and lesbians from harassment in this conservative Balkan country.

Dusica Davidovic, an official in the southern city of Nis, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) south of Belgrade, says the city needs a "safe house" where gays from the area could seek protection.

A 19-year-old Serbian man was kicked out of his home last year after he publicly said he was gay. Stefan Radovic says his family has cut all ties with him and he has nowhere to live.

Serbia has pledged to protect gay rights as it seeks to join the European Union. But the gay community still faces threats and attacks, and attempts to hold gay pride marches have resulted in clashes with extremists.

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