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.