Riga Pride ban overturned
Gay activists in Latvia were celebrating yesterday after a court ruled that the decision to ban a gay Pride march in 2006 was illegal.
“Freedom of speech and freedom of assembly do exist in Latvia,” said Kristine Garina, chairwoman of gay rights group Mozaika.
“The right of the LGBT community to organise a march has been evaluated as having more importance than the desire of some other people to push a certain community out of the public arena by means of threats and violence.”
Last year gay campaigners were attacked with eggs and bags of excrement and left feeling under siege by protesters when they quietly celebrated 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.
The municipal authorities in Riga said 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.
Earlier this month it was announced that a right-wing nationalist who allegedly orchestrated last year’s attacks is to be prosecuted for inciting public disorder.
The new mayor of Riga has condemned last year’s ban.
In an interview with Diena newspaper, Janis Birks said he was ashamed at events.
He called for tolerance and understanding on all sides.
Last month London Pride announced they would be “twinning” with Riga Pride as a sign of solidarity.
Riga Pride will be held from 30th May to 3rd June 2007.