/ Updated  / Source: Associated Press

POGORICA, Montenegro — Dozens of people have participated in a gay pride event in highly conservative Montenegro where authorities are promising to boost gay rights as part of efforts to join the European Union.

Hundreds of policemen deployed Saturday in downtown Podgorica, the capital, to prevent possible attacks from extremists. Participants in the pride march carried banners reading "born this way" or "equality for everyone."

Montenegrin gay activist carries a banner 'I like your girlfriend' as she takes part in the LGBTQ Pride march in Podgorica, Montenegro on December 17, 2016.Boris Pejovic / EPA

Activist Danijel Kalezic says Montenegrin gays no longer want to hide. "We don't have enough support from our fathers, mothers, siblings or relatives," he said.

Montenegro's government has announced plans to introduce gay partnership as part of its pro-EU agenda.

Initial pride events several years ago were marred with incidents.

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