Vike-Freiberga lashes out at Riga City Council on gay pride parade decision

  • 2006-07-21
  • By TBT staff
It was unacceptable for the Riga City Council to refuse to authorize the gay and lesbian pride parade planned for July 22, Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga said on July 20.

The decision by the council was being appealed to the administrative district court on July 21.

"[T]he refusal to authorize this parade is unacceptable in a democratic country because Latvia's priorities are those articles of the Constitution, which enable people to express their opinion and the state should make it possible for them," the president said.

State agencies should ensure security during these events, especially when violence from those who disagree with the demonstrators is possible, she said.

The council had cited information from security police in its decision on July 20.
"[A]nywhere else in the world there is a practice to allow a peaceful group to express itself even in case an aggressive group is threatening the demonstration of the peaceful group," Linda Freimane, the head of Latvia's top gay rights organization, Mozaika, said on July 20.

Latvia held its first gay pride parade in 2005, which was met by a brutality and violence. Plans to hold a similar parade this year have met with vicious protests and threats of violence from several different corners.