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Lithuanian Pride Marked By Protests

Jim Burroway

May 8th, 2010

About 400 people participating in Lithuania’s first Pride observance in downtown Vilnius were met with more than 1,000 rock- and smokebomb-throwing protesters and were protected by 800 police. Nineteen people were detained, including two anti-gay lawmakers. A Russian-language news report says that a march along the Neris river was cut short due to the violence. A Molotov cocktail was also thrown Molotov cocktail was thrown into the offices of Youth for Tolerance, which helped organize the event. The bomb failed to ignite and no one was injured.

It was the first Gay Pride event in Lithuania, a largely Catholic nation of 3.4 million people that acquired independence from the Soviet Union two decades ago. The parade was originally authorized by the Vilnius city council, but was was prohibited Wednesday by a court. An appeals court on Friday overturned the ban.

Update (May 10): We heard from Kate at Amnesty International, whose account differs from early news reports:

I’m based at Amnesty International’s International Secretariat and was at Baltic Pride on Saturday.  Just a couple of corrections — the march wasn’t cut short (and trouble from the counter-demonstrators didn’t really happen until the end of the march when most of the participants had left the site) and the Tolerant Youth Association had its windows broken that morning but there were no molotov cocktails.  We reckon we had about 500 people on the march and it was a huge success. More info will be available here and participants are sending in their info via the Baltic Pride facebook page here.

Comments

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paul j stein
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

Well, the current POPE was a NAZI YOUTH. Not a far stretch to see his support for assault,violence,suppression of anything not related to the (PRO)creation of more Catholics to then send cash to the Vatican. Humans will breed like rats if left to do so. The POPE want as many as possible to be Catholic.

Uki
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

Wow…just wow…..Now THIS is what I call gay pride.

TampaZeke
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

Sadly there were probably two gay people in the anti-gay fascist groups, hurling insults and smoke bombs, to every one gay person in the pride parade.

Burr
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

What’s with those signs? Are those open safety pins? What’s the symbolism?

Guffey
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

The “Russian-language news report” site has a larger version of this pic. On several signs, above the safety pin, it reads “Be Open”. Interesting.

Pilis
May 9th, 2010 | LINK

Baltic pride was successful despite the fierce oposition. You can find some more photos at Gayline.lt article as well as some videos here.

Timothy Kincaid
May 9th, 2010 | LINK

As a Christian, reports like this make me sick:

Protesters carried crosses and signs and shouted insults at rally participants. A Catholic Mass at the nearby national cathedral was held to pray for homosexuals.

Aaron
May 9th, 2010 | LINK

I agree Timothy.

I thank God that Molotov Cocktail didn’t light.

VapoRob
May 10th, 2010 | LINK

Wouldn’t it be great if those 400 brave brothers and sisters of ours marching for equality over there could come march in one of our parades over here together? Wow what a block party it would be. I was at the San Diego pride of 1999 when tear gas was set off at the parade. There were families and kids at that pride who were affected as well. I feel for them having to live in a country that has more hatred then our closeted bigoted homophobes that we have here.

Grant
May 10th, 2010 | LINK

Bless those brave LGBT sisters and brothers in Lithuania. What courage it must take. I am humbled by their strength and tenacity.

Audrey the Liberal
May 10th, 2010 | LINK

What are the safety pins for?

TampaZeke
May 11th, 2010 | LINK

Audrey, see Guffey’s comment above.

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