Gay bashers arrested after parade attack

  • 2006-07-24
  • By TBT staff
RIGA - A total of 14 people have been detained for attacks on representatives of sexual minorities in the Latvian capital Riga on Saturday during the gay and lesbian pride festival.

National Police spokeswoman Sintija Kajina told the Baltic News Service that 13 of the detainees face administrative charges, while a criminal proceeding will be started against one person who was detained. The charges stem from an attack on gay and lesbian people who attended a service at the Anglican Church in Riga as part of the Friendship Days festival held last week.

An angry crowd threw tomatoes, eggs and excrement at people entering the church service. Later, they threw eggs and splashed water on a taxi in which Swedish participants of the Latvian gay festival were traveling to the airport. The taxi was chased on its way to the airport, and attempts were made to push it off the road.

The key event of the gay festival, a gay pride parade, did not take place because the Riga City Council refused to grant the required municipal authorization. Gay and lesbian organizations are determined to continue legal action against the city council for banning the parade. They said they would go all the way to the European Court of Human Rights, if necessary.

Latvian Interior Minister Dzintars Jaundzeikars said it was up to the Security Police to discover the instigators of the violence. The minister said most of the anti-gay protesters were Russian-speakers.

The interior minister said he was concerned that the police received the strongest criticism after the anti-gay incidents. In his opinion, officers did a good job.