Gay activists targeted at Riga Pride
Gay campaigners were attacked with eggs and bags of excrement and left feeling under siege by protesters last weekend as they aimed to quietly celebrate Riga Pride.
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.
Mr Alexeyev, who was arrested at last May’s Moscow Gay Pride, said: “It is astonishing. It’s worse than Moscow. There is total chaos here. The police seem very weak and disorganised. The fascists are able to act at will. And Latvia is in the European Union.
“The police presence outside the Reval Latvia Hotel, where a press conference and alternative event to the banned Pride march is being staged, is symbolic. Small and inadequate. We are under siege by a mob of some 70 fascists.”
Mr Tatchell said: “People attending the press conference had to be rushed out into waiting vans to be ferried away from the baying homophobic crowd.
“Earlier today, the church service held in support of Riga Gay Pride was attacked by a dozen neo-Nazis. Worshippers were pelted with sh*t and rotten fruit.
“Despite previously requesting police protection, no police were present to protect the congregation. Dutch MEP Sophie In’t Veld was one of the worshippers prevented from leaving the church by the homophobic vigilantes.
“The inaction of the Latvian police is scandalous. They seem to be doing the absolute minimum.”
The municipal authorities in Riga were told that the event would be cancelled to avoid public disorder after Christians, nationalists and neo-Nazis threatened the parade with violence and a counter march.
Recent pride marches in Moscow, Bucharest and Warsaw have also been met with protest from similar groups.
Last month, the European Union passed a resolution to combat homophobia on the continent.