Two mayors of Lithuanian cities have refused to allow an EU anti-discrimination truck on their municipal territories this year.
In a compromise, the touring vehicle, which has been organised by the European Commission, will have to be displayed on the private territory of a supermarket.
Last year, for the first time in its history, the truck was completely banned by Lithuania.
This time round, the vehicle will be calling into Vilnius (20th August) and Kaunas (22th August).
The mayor of Vilnius, Juozas Imbrasas, refused to allow the truck into the city claiming that participation of LGBT activists would be “propaganda of homosexuality.”
Andrius Kupčinskas, Mayor of Kaunas, said that the “homosexual festival may cause many negative emotions.”
The EU “For Diversity. Against Discrimination.” truck is travelling around Europe to promote diversity and tolerance.
While stopping in various destinations across Europe, it engages locals to learn more about EU anti-discrimination laws, co-operate with local organisations representing various groups protected from discrimination, it also facilitates debates, exhibitions concerts and competitions.
Although being satisfied that this year the truck is not being prevented from stopping in Lithuania, the International Lesbian Gay Association (ILGA) Europe and Lithuania Gay League (LGL) are disappointed that the mayors of the two cities have taken this stance on the trucks.
ILGA-Europe and LGL are also disappointed that the European Commission has agreed on a compromise between the municipal and private territory.
Vladimir Simonko, Chair of Lithuanian Gay League, said: “We know that it takes time to build a non-homophobic, tolerant and inclusive society.
“Major European cities are mainstreaming equality by holding numerous public events including LGBT Prides.
“Unfortunately, it is not a practice in two main Lithuanian cities, which refuse to embrace such an important anti-discrimination information campaign.
“Furthermore, the mayors of Vilnius and Kaunas are sending a clear message that LGBT people are still not welcome in their diverse communities and are creating some kind of 21st century apartheid.
“Homosexuals who find it impossible to live in such a situation are forced to emigrate to more tolerant European cities.”