Interior minister meets with Christian leaders, US ambassador about gay pride parade

  • 2006-07-18
  • By TBT staff
Latvian Interior Minister Dzintars Jaundzeikars met separately with US ambassador Catherine Todd Bailey and Russian Orthodox priest Nikolajs Tihonirovs on July 17 to discuss the gay pride parade planned for Riga on July 22.

"[The parade] would be a mockery of feelings of all Orthodox believers," Tihonirovs said after the meeting. "The event should not be allowed to take place at all as it offends morals of Latvia's population and every Christian. It is a challenge and provocation against our religions."

Jaundzeikars himself voiced concern for parade marchers as many have threatened to block the march. "The police do not have so many men. What are we supposed to do -- use the weapons perhaps?"

"The police do its best but everything has its limits," the minister said. "If I was the organizer and had to make the decision, I would definitely not hold the event. If the intention was to speak about tolerance, the result is just the opposite now."

Bailey voiced concern for security at the parade and said that the US supported democracy, human rights and tolerance in Latvia. She said the embassy planned to participate in several events related to the gay festival, Riga Pride 2006, she said.