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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Thursday, 19.07.2018, 22:05

Baltic Pride parade draws up to 2,000 in Vilnius

BC, Vilnius, 20.06.2016.Print version

Between 1,500 and 2,000 people marched in a Baltic Pride parade in Vilnius without any serious incidents Saturday, the police of the Lithuanian capital has said, cites LETA/BNS.


Six drunken people were detained during the event, Paulius Radvilavicius, spokesman for the police, told BNS, adding that some of them shouted obscenities, one carried a knife and urinated in public.


Ambassadors from several countries, European and Lithuanian politicians, human rights activists, members of the LGBT community and supporters, representatives of civil society organizations and a delegation of the University of Vilnius joined the march. Participants carried the flags of sexual minorities as well as Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the UK, Israel, Russia, the United States and Sweden.


A small group of protesters heckled the parade-goers at the Cathedral Square, which, however, had not led to any incidents.


Even though Vilnius’ authorities issued permission for up to 1,000 people to participate in the LGBT march, the actual parade, which is the third such event ever hosted by Vilnius, actually drew much more people.


Baltic Pride is an annual LGBT event that rotates between the three Baltic capitals.


Organizers of the event say that it is aimed at increasing the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the society and its tolerance. Meanwhile, critics describe it as propaganda of homosexuality running against Christian values.


The first Baltic Pride march in Vilnius was held in Upes Street outside the city center in 2010. The local authorities tried to refuse permission, but a court allowed the event to go ahead.


In 2013, the city did not want to allow holding a Baltic Pride march in Gedimino Avenue and instead proposed the more remote Upes Street, but a court decided that such a restriction was unfounded. Around 500 LGBT people then marched through the central avenue.


Protests were held against the Baltic Pride marches both in 2010 and 2013. The police used smoke and tear-gas grenades to disperse the protesters.

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