Anti-gay feeling has reached new heights in Lithuania after a Swedish ambassador called for tolerance towards LGBT people.
Ambassador Malin Karre delivered a speech to the Lithuanian Parliament on Wednesday May 16th to commemorate the International Day of Fighting Homophobia.
She told the Lithuanian parliament that the Swedish government was “opposed to any goals to trample human rights, including the rights of people with non-traditional sexual orientation.”
Activists protested her comments outside the Swedish embassy in Vilnius on May 18th.
The leader of the For Honour and Nation group, opera soloist Vaidas Vysniauskas, told BNS: “We are worried that the representative of the foreign country does not understand that maybe the virtues possibly acceptable for Swedish are not acceptable for Lithuanians.
“Everything that destroys the family institute should not be allowed and the publicity of homosexuals violates the right of the majority of the society to protect their values.”
This is the latest of many homophobic incidents in the Baltic state in the past few months.
On May 12th, the mayor of Vilnius refused to give permission for the anti-discrimination truck tour to visit Vilnius.
The truck is part of the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All campaign, but mayor Juozas Imbrasas claimed it could cause a security risk and riots.
The European Commission said “it highly regrets the decision to cancel the planned event.
“The anti-discrimination truck brings a message of tolerance, respect and the need to combat discrimination on the grounds of racial and ethnic origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion and belief.
“The activities on board the truck also aim to raise awareness of anti-discrimination laws, which all Member States have signed up to.”
Patricia Prendiville, executive director of ILGA-Europe, said:
“This is an appalling act of disrespect not only towards the right of Lithuanian LGBT people to peaceful assembly and expression; this is act of disrespect toward the entire European Union and its basic principles.”
Earlier this month, PinkNews.co.uk reported how Lithuanian bus drivers refused to drive buses bearing ads which promoted tolerance towards gay people.
A poll last December found that only 17% of Lithuanians support gay marriage.