Foreign MEPs are set to take part in LGBT parade in Vilnius
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from the Netherlands, Sweden and Austria will take part in a gay pride parade, planned in Vilnius on Saturday, followed by a conference on the issue.
Lithuanian MEP Leonidas Donskis, a member of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, said his Dutch colleague Sophia in’t Veld and Swedish colleague Cecilia Wikstrom will take part in the parade through Gediminas Avenue in Vilnius on Saturday.
Austrian MEP Ulrike Lunacek from the Greens/European Free Alliance will be among speakers at conference ‘Towards a European Roadmap for LGBT equality’ at the Tolerance Centre in Vilnius on Friday.
Donskis himself said he would attend the conference, but would not take part in the gay pride parade as, he said, he is not “a mass-event man”.
“The parade is an expression of civil rights, but I think that the conference is equally important, and the fact that, let’s say, the Swedish and Norwegian ambassadors are very actively taking part in this shows that the Nordic neighbours are very much interested in the event,” Donskis told BNS.
Dutch MEP Veld took part in the 2010 Baltic Pride parade in Vilnius. During the presentation of priorities of the Lithuanian EU presidency in the European Parliament in Strasbourg in early July, she invited Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė to take part in the upcoming parade.
The President said in response that she does not take part in any parades.
“Several ombudsmen, a representative of the Flemish government from Brussels will take part. There’s a growing number of ambassadors who expressed their wish to attend the parade,” Vladimir Simonko, leader of the Lithuanian Gay League, told BNS.
“From Lithuania, if we talk about politicians, as far as I know, Aušrinė Marija Pavilionienė will take part. There’s silence in terms of other politicians.” Simonko said.
Vilnius Municipality on Wednesday issued permission for the gay pride parade through the Lithuanian capital’s central Gediminas Avenue on Saturday. The first Baltic Pride parade in Lithuania took place on Vilnius’ Upės Street in 2010.