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Lithuania successful in first ever pride parade

  • 2010-05-10
  • Oskars Magone

As the first march of its kind, the parade was a landmark event for the advancement of Lithuanian human rights.

VILNIUS -- Lithuania has successfully hosted its historic first ever gay pride parade, as about 500 people marched through the capitol saturday.

Though the landmark event passed without any major incidents, it was far from peaceful. Approximately 1,000 protesters turned up at the march to throw stones, bottles and scream insults at the parade.

Police arrested 12 people, including at least two parliamentarians, for inciting violence. About 600 police officers used tear gas to subdue the protesters.

The parade was allowed to go through by a last minute court ruling that overturned a previous lower court ruling in favor of Prosecutor General Raimondas Petrauskas, who had attempted to ban the event over security concerns despite police commments indicating there would be no problems.

Homosexuality is largely tabboo in Lithuania, which is a highly religious country. A survey commissioned by the Baltic News Service last month found that more than 70 percent of Lithuanians were against the pride parade.

One policeman and one journalist were injured in clashes with protesters.