Posters showing a photo of US Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Eric Gordon Nelson and the message "Gay is not OK" appeared in Sarajevo on Friday ahead of the country's first gay pride parade which is due to take place in the capital on Sunday.
The posters were put up in the suburb of Dobrinja outside a building housing a US university.
Ambassador Nelson, who has declared himself a homosexual, recently expressed support for the first LGBTI march in Sarajevo, saying that he would take part in the parade, set for 8 September.
“The US Embassy expresses support to the first Pride March in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The goal of the pride parade is equal human rights for all. Me and my partner appreciate the welcome and respect we received here. I will take part in the Pride March to give support to all LGBTI community members and their families,” the US ambassador said, addressing the public in the local language(s) recently.
The US ambassador sees the parade as a chance for Bosnia and Herzegovina “to accept its diversities and show tolerance and respect for every individual.”
A non-governmental organisation called “Light” is organising a march on Saturday to promote traditional family values.
On Sunday morning, the NGO “Iskorak”, which is viewed as a pro-Muslim association, will hold a counter-march in the Bosnian capital. This NGO has criticised the country's Islamic community leaders as well as Christian Catholic and Orthodox dignitaries for failing to raise their voice against the first gay parade.
On Friday, the Ombudsman's Office called for the respect of human rights of members of the LBGTI community.
The police are treating the parade as a high-risk event, which is why some 1,100 police officers will be engaged along the march route.
An estimated 500 people are expected to participate in the parade.