Riga City Council bans Pride parade

  • 2009-05-14
  • Monika Hanley

Last year's Pride parade was marred by protests.

RIGA - The Riga City Council picket and parade commission has banned the previously approved pride parade, set for May 16.

The commission reviewed their decision to allow the parade at an extraordinary session and has decided to ban the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and friends group Mozaika from having their planned parade from Vermanes Garden.

Mozaika has decided to contest the decision in court.

As previously reported the City Council Director Andris Grinbergs had announced that the planned event was strongly contradictory to lawful norms, and called an extraordinary session of the council today.

Grinbergs had on May 13 received a letter signed by the majority of Riga council members, asking him to revoke the permission granted to the event, on the basis that the event was a threat to security.
Kaspars Zalitis, coordinator of Latvia's Amnesty International Youth Group said the council's decision was based on questions of morality and public safety and therefore illegal.

The event has been in the planning for the past 12 months and has been jointly organized LGBT advocates across all three Baltic States for the first time.

The event had expected to attract up to 700 people.

"This is extremely illegal and is based only on hatred. The decision should only be taken if there was extreme danger and the police have assured us they have all the resources in place to protect us," said Zalitis.

The Council members in their letter wrote that should the director not revoke permission by the end of May 14, they would overrule the decision through a City Council vote. 

Permission was originally granted for the march, organized by the Latvian organization Mozaika, the Lithuanian Gay League, and Estonian Gay Youth,'s by the Riga City Council on May  8.

Originally the weekend of May 15-17 was planned for Friend Days events, with the 16th featuring a parade in Vermanes Garden.