Sunday, May 09, 2010

Police Open Fire at Gay Pride March; 12 Anti-gay Protesters Arrested

Police fire tear gas at protesters as Lithuania's first gay pride parade takes place:
Police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters in Lithuania's capital Vilnius on Saturday, as homosexual rights campaigners held their first-ever rally in the Baltic state.

Officers moved in to disperse a crowd of around 2,000 counter demonstrators at the end of the “Baltic Pride 2010” march, as they hurled stones, bottles and fire-crackers from behind security barriers.

Twelve people were arrested, police said.

Gay rights campaigners had Friday won an appeal against a court decision to ban their parade in this overwhelming Catholic and former communist EU nation of 3.3 million people, where homosexuality is largely taboo.

“We've made a decisive step towards greater tolerance,” Vytautas Valentinavicius, one of the organisers, told AFP. Around 300 people took part in the landmark march, with a heavy police presence protecting them from the protesters. READ MORE

Violence as Lithuania gay pride march goes ahead:
Police fired tear gas and arrested at least 12 people as opponents of Lithuania's first gay pride parade threw stones and fireworks at marchers.

Hundreds of police officers, some on horses, provided security and kept more than 1,000 demonstrators away from the marchers.

Protesters carried crosses and signs, and shouted insults at march participants.

Marchers included many foreigners, diplomats and members of the European Parliament.

Lithuania, an EU member since 2004, has repeatedly been criticised by rights groups for widespread intolerance toward sexual minorities.