The co-ordinator of Tallinn Pride has shared her hopes that this Saturday’s parade will be a peaceful event.
The parade will be the finale of a week of events celebrating the LGBT community in the Estonian capital and there are expectations that around 500 people will march.
Last year’s parade was marred by violence. 15 people were injured after being attacked by groups of skinheads with sticks and stones.
The violence was criticised by the European Parliament and Ken Livingstone, London’s Mayor, who argued that “the city’s police should have taken all reasonable steps to robustly defend the fundamental human rights of those taking part.”
Organisers of this year’s event have had difficulties arranging the route.
Police officials tried to divert them away from the pedestrianised Old Town, claiming their presence would infringe the rights of other Tallinn residents to go about their business.
However, the route was authorised last month after protests by gay rights activists.
“I really want to believe that this hassle has been put on the organisers of other public events too, and it’s not a question of tolerance or attitude toward Pride events,” Tallinn Pride coordinator Lisette Kampus told the Baltic Times.
She said it was incorrect to assume that all of Estonian society is homophobic.
“It’s not fair to say they aren’t gay-friendly, they are. The objectors are a small minority who is really radically against gay issues, and they have a very loud voice.
“What differs us from Western Europe is that, there, society has made it clear that those types of attitudes are not okay. In the Baltics, nobody is reacting against these negative opinions.”
This year’s Tallinn Pride coincides with the European Year of Equal Opportunity for All.
Politicians from around Europe are expected to attend.