Riga Pride organisers feeling confident

Tony Grew May 24, 2007
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The organiser’s of this year’s Riga Pride are preparing to welcome hundreds of supporters from all over Europe next weekend.

Four days of events, beginning on May 31st, will culminate in the Pride march.

There will also be concerts, film screenings and exhibitions.

Representatives of London Pride, who signed a solidarity agreement with Riga Pride, will attend.

Amnesty International has announced that between 50 and 100 of its members from eleven countries will take part.

A delegation of Swedish MPs and MEPs from across the political spectrum are also expected to march.

Last year Pride was banned by the city authorities, and a small number of gay rights activists who defied that ban were attacked and missiles and human excrement were thrown at them.

Linda Freimane, director of sexual minorities rights group Mozaika, told the Baltic Times that the police were being more professional this year and that the events would dispel,

“The myth that homosexuals are just a handful of foreigners living in Riga, and people would not understand that these are Latvians and Russians who live among us.”

Earlier this month an open letter from Cardinal Janis Pujats, Archbishop of Riga, called on crowds of people to take to the streets of Riga to oppose Pride.

“If there are 1,000 sexually crazy people acting foolishly in the square of Pride, then the people’s march in Riga should have at least 40,000 or 50,000,” he wrote.

“That proportion would give the government and public enough reason to leave sexual perversion outside the law.”

The Roman Catholic leader recommends holding the “provocative demonstration (Pride), in a location that is closed and limited some way – a garden or square.”

The new Mayor of the Latvian capital has publicly backed next weekend’s gay rights march in the city.

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