MEPs and gay rights activists from across Europe joined in this weekend’s Pride celebrations in the Estonian capital Tallinn.
300 people took part in the parade, which snaked through the historic Old Town, among them members of human rights groups such as Amnesty International and the International Gay and Lesbian Association.
Last year’s parade was marred by violence.
15 people were injured after being attacked by groups of skinheads with sticks and stones.
The Tallinn police had tried to alter the parade route this year, claiming their presence would infringe the rights of other residents to go about their business.
However, the route was authorised last month after protests by gay rights activists.
Thousands of locals and tourists watched the parade, which was protected by extra police and private security.
This year a small alternative procession chanted ‘No Pride’ as they followed behind the procession, but there was no violence.
Last week, Tallinn Pride coordinator Lisette Kampus told the
“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.”
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.
Estonia has been a member of the EU since 2004.
See photos of Tallinn Pride here.