updated 9/20/2009 5:01:59 PM ET 2009-09-20T21:01:59

An Australian citizen was attacked in Belgrade on Sunday and police detained 46 members of rightist groups amid a surge in extremist violence in Serbia.

Police said they were searching for a group of men who attacked the 25-year-old Australian in a park in central Belgrade.

Independent B92 TV quoted the man's friends as saying that they had been followed by a group of young man who later attacked them. Doctors said the man was lightly injured.

The attack is the second on foreigners in Belgrade in a week. A 28-year-old French national remains in critical condition after he was beaten by football hooligans on Thursday.

Threats by extremist groups also forced a cancellation of a gay pride march which was planned for Sunday. The event was to be Serbia's first gay pride since 2001, but organizers called it off after police said they cannot provide security.

Rightists remain a strong presence in Serbia years after the end of the Balkan wars and the ouster in 2000 of autocrat Slobodan Milosevic.

Extremist groups also broke up a gay pride march in 2001, beating up the participants.

The current, pro-Western government has pledged tough measures against rightist groups. Police said those detained on Sunday included prominent leaders of the main ultranationalist organizations. Police also said they found rocks and torches stashed for use in violent clashes.

Senior Justice Ministry official Slobodan Homen said later Sunday that altogether 46 people had been detained.

Serbia state prosecutor's office said 11 men suspected of attacking French soccer fans could be charged with attempted murder, facing up to 40 years in prison. Spokesman Tomo Zoric also urged a state ban on the extremist groups.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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