VILNIUS — The gay tolerance advocacy group Lithuanian Gay League applied Friday for a permit from the Vilnius municipal government to hold the Baltic Pride 2010 rally in May.
Previous attempts to hold gay pride events in the Lithuanian capital were barred by city authorities, who cited security concerns. In 2007 the Vilnius city council unanimously barred an EU-sponsored tolerance of minorities rally from taking place, citing fears that anti-gay protesters may become violent. Meanwhile the Baltic Pride 2009 parade in Riga was met with a large anti-gay counter-rally, where demonstrators carried signs saying phrases like “Gay pride, AIDS pride.”
“In the parade will be gays, lesbians, their parents, friends and people who support human rights,” Vladimir Simonko, a Lithuanian Gay League co-director told Defli.lt. “We invite many guests … I think that there will be considerable support at the international level and I hope that this will encourage our local community and other citizens to join this campaign.”
If approved, the march would follow a short route between the Conti Hotel on Raugyklos Street to and the historic city hall building in Rotušės Square. The parade is a part of a series of events for “Baltic Pride 2010,” which will include the displaying in central Vilnius of the biggest rainbow flag ever made, measuring 30 meters in length.
The event’s stated goal is to promote tolerance and fight discrimination against homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people in a country well-known for conservative attitudes toward people of non-heterosexual orientations.