Riga Pride attacker to be prosecuted
A right-wing nationalist who allegedly orchestrated last year’s attack on a gay Pride march in Latvia is to be prosecuted for inciting public disorder.
Viktors Birze, who heads the National Force Union, is to face charges in relation to events last July.
Gay men and lesbians were refused permission to march in Riga on 22nd July by city officials, who cited security advice from the interior ministry.
A group of around 50 activists instead held a service of tolerance at a local Anglican church.
Under the auspices of a “No Pride” movement hundreds of neo-Nazi skinheads, ultra-nationalists and members of the Orthodox church besieged the church, pelting the activists with excrement.
It was reported that local police stood and watched as events unfolded and declined to intervene.
14 people were arrested, but magistrates imposed non-custodial sentences on the Pride attackers.
The regional prosecutor’s office now want Mr Birze and another man, Valdis Rosans, to face charges of “hooliganism in a group, causing bodily injuries and damage of property, and showing resistance to law enforcement authorities,” The Baltic Times reports.
The pair face up to seven years in jail if convicted.
Pride London and the Mayor of London have signed a statement of unity with Riga Pride 2007 at a ceremony in the Latvian capital.
Riga Pride 2007 will be held from 30th May to 3rd June.