Organizers of LGBTQ+ march in Lithuania's 2nd city welcome court ruling

  • 2021-09-03
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Kaunas Pride organizers welcomed on Friday a court ruling obliging the local authority to allow Saturday's LGBTQ+ march to take place along the planned route in the heart of Lithuania's second-biggest city. 

"We welcome the decision," Viktorija Kolbesnikova, one of the organizers, told BNS. "We can thank Kaunas Municipality in advance for advertising [the event] and we hope that the municipality will finally talk to us and approve the route." 

Even if the local authority finds obstacles to executing the court's ruling, the march will go ahead because "the right of assembly comes first", she said.

The organizers will do their best ensure the safety of participants, a promise that the police have made, too, according to Kolbesnikova. 

Earlier on Friday, Lithuania's Supreme Administrative Court dismissed Kaunas Municipality's appeal and gave it until 6 p.m. to authorize the march to take place along the route requested by the organizers. 

The ruling is final and not subject to appeal. 

The organizers of the Kaunas Pride march expect around 1,000 people to take part in the LGBTQ+ event in Lithuania's second-largest city on Saturday. 

The march is planned to start at St. Michael the Archangel Church, better known as Soboras. From there, participants will walk through the city's central Laisves Avenue and then back.

In June, the local authority refused to issue a permit for the Kaunas Pride march through the  street, citing ongoing infrastructure renovation work and "disproportionate inconvenience" to the city's residents as the reason.

The organizers appealed the decision to the Regional Administrative Court which in early August ordered the local authority to authorize the LGBTQ+ march along the route requested by the organizers.

On August 26, the city appealed the ruling to the supreme court.