Baltic Pride: Peaceful, But Not Without Protests

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Hundreds of LGBT activists and other members of the community took to the streets of Vilnius for Baltic Pride, the second ever pride parade that the Lithuanian capital has seen, despite attempts by anti-gay protesters.

28 protestors were detained by police for disrupting the peace during the Baltic Pride parade, which many LGBT campaigners feared would not be allowed take place by authorities. Amongst those detained by the police was Petras Gražulis, an anti-gay politician who attempted to introduce a law against the so-called ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in 2010.  Local media reported that during anti-gay protests at Baltic Pride, Gražulis was thrown face-down on the ground, and carried off in handcuffs by police, before reappearing soon afterwards.

Protesters also threw eggs, hitting Lithuanian lawmaker Giedrė Purvaneckienė and Swedish EU Affairs Minister Birgitta Ohlsson, who were both standing at the front of the parade. Up to fifty protestors attempted to storm a concert stage where LGBT activists had planned to speak, but police forced the protesters off the stage.

“[W]e need to march until eggs aren’t thrown anymore, and people can march freely and without fear,” said Purvaneckienė after the attack. Vilnius Police confirmed that one officer was injured as a result of the protests.

Lithuania currently holds the Presidency for the European Union, which is a six-month term. The previous Presidency was held by Ireland, where a major international conference on LGBT youth was held in Dublin. Many Lithuanians, in comparison, are not as supportive of LGBT rights.

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