Thousands celebrate EuroPride in Riga despite fears of violence
Thousands of people celebrated EuroPride in the Latvian capital Riga at the weekend, despite fears that the event would be marred by anti-gay attacks.
Police said only three anti-gay protesters were arrested for minor public offences, such as attempting to throw eggs.
EuroPride, which took place in Riga for the first time, attracted around 5,000 people, according to police.
A heavy police presence meant some religious protesters who waved anti-gay banners were unable to disrupt the event.
Last week Amnesty International urged the Latvian government to commit to protect the participants of this year’s EuroPride.
Last December, Latvian President Andris Berzins said: “Homosexuality should not be advertised and imposed”.
Despite this Lucy Freeman of Amnesty International: “It’s a very significant thing for Latvia, a former Soviet state, to be hosting EuroPride for the first time. In future we hope to see more long-term commitment to equal rights but we’re pleased the police have been working very closely with the organisers to ensure everything goes off smoothly.”
Previous pride events in Latvia have been met with hostility.
In 2005, a national pride march in Riga was marred by violent homophobic attacks.