Amnesty group condemns ban on pride parade

Amnesty International has condemned the decision by the Rīga City Council to ban a gay pride parade that had been scheduled July 22, while parade promoters have taken the matter to court.

The city council, citing security concerns, on July 19 denied a permit for “Riga Pride 2006,” setting in motion a potential repeat of events that occurred last year during the capital city’s first-ever gay pride parade.

Mozaīka, the nonprofit group organizing this year’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender event, has appealed the council’s decision to the Rīga District Administrative Court. The court is scheduled to consider the matter July 21.

The council’s decision was based on unspecified threats of violence from various extremist groups.

But Amnesty International questioned the council’s reasoning.

“The claims of Rīga City Council that security would not be able to be guaranteed to the participants of the march lacks credibility,” the London-based Amnesty Internation said in a press release, “considering that Latvian law enforcement agencies had the capacity to effectively ensure security during previous events of a similar or larger scale such as the 2006 ice hockey World Championships, and are expected to so during the November 2006 NATO summit in Rīga.”

The council also had received a petition signed by about 17,000 people demanding the city forbid the parade.

Last year, the city granted a permit for the parade, but the city manager—citing security concerns—subsequently canceled it. Parade organizers appealed to the administrative court, which ruled the city must re-issue the permit. The July 23, 2005, parade was marked by more anti-gay protestors than marchers.

Both pride event promoters and their opponents appear better organized this year. Mozaīka, a group formed following last year’s pride event, in April unveiled a new Web site, Meanwhlle, opponents have created a nonprofit group called NoPride and began the Web site

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

2 thoughts on “Amnesty group condemns ban on pride parade

  1. Why should Latvia be condemned? What non parade steps did Gay Pride take since last year to educate Latvians about Gay people?

    Why should Gay Pride be allowed to ignore the protests of last year that showed more had to be done before a parade could be considered?

    If Gay Pride is representative of gays then gays ought to be protesting about the unintelligent approach of Mozaika.

    Trying to muscle in with flags flying crying to the European Parliament seems to be provokative and clear indication that they ignore the rights of gay and non gay people.

    It is easy to create enemies – the challenge is to think a little and consider all interests and avoid frontal attacks in the form of Parades!

  2. I am truly ashamed to be Latvian when things like this can happen in Latvia, which claims to be a democratic and open country. It is not, in fact, religious extremism has prevailed. And how dare Mr.Pujats call himself a christian when he has no problem to call for disrimination of some groups of society.

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