The gay and lesbian communities of London and Riga are to come together in a unique twinning partnership to support equality and tolerance in the two capital cities.

Pride London and the Mayor of London will sign a statement of unity with Riga Pride at a ceremony in the Latvian capital next month.

Last July the gay and lesbian community in Riga were banned from celebrating Pride and suffered violent oppression from homophobic mobs.

Gay campaigners were attacked with eggs and bags of excrement and besieged by protesters.

Authorities in the Latvian capital had banned the gay parade on public order grounds, but activists including Outrage’s Peter Tatchell and GayRussia’s Nikolai Alexeyev decided to continue with smaller activities.

Last summer over half a million Londoners from all backgrounds came together in the largest Pride parade the city has ever seen.

Chair of Pride London Paul Birrell said:

“The new twinning partnership is the first step to bringing this unacceptable situation to an end, and supporting the human rights of everyone in Europe to live in freedom without fear of violence and abuse.

“We hope that all citizens of both of these great capital cities will unite to fight for the equality that so many have fought for, for so long.”

Chair of Riga Pride Kristine Garina said she was delighted by the agreement to twin with London:

“We hope that this will have a real impact on the overt homophobia in our city.

“Riga Pride and Pride London hope that as many people as possible will travel from the UK to the beautiful city of Riga to help them celebrate their Pride festival from 30 May to 2 June and join the fledgling Pride parade on 2 June.”