LGBT pride parade is a good EU presidency start

Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Reposted from The Lithuania Tribune:

The March for Equality, planned on Saturday in Vilnius, is a good start for the Lithuanian EU presidency, visiting Swedish Minister for European Union Affairs said in Vilnius on Friday.

“You chose a good start for the Lithuanian presidency leading the European Union,” she told a press conference on Friday, adding that she will take part in the Saturday parade as it is “a very historical moment for me.”

“No government has a right to tell its citizens whom to love, no religion has a right to tell which identity to choose and no politician,” Ohlsson said.

Helle Jacobsen, a representative of Amnesty International, said they plan to present a petition to Vilnius Mayor Artūras Zuokas, signed by 30,000 activists and demanding that Vilnius authorities allow the gay pride parade on Saturday. The municipality has already issued permission but did that after several court orders.

Birgitta Ohlsson | Photo courtesy of Sweden’s Government Office, Photo by Johna Odmann

“Thirty thousand activists from across Europe have signed Amnesty’s petition to demand that the Baltic Pride takes place on Saturday. We regret to see that Vilnius City authorities, that they have banned the pride and then has several court decisions for this pride to be allowed. We activate going to hand over our thirty thousand signatures to the mayor of Vilnius,” she said.

Vilnius is hosting an international conference on Friday to discuss the situation of the rights of sexual minorities in the Baltic States and the whole of Europe.

The conference at the Tolerance Centre is organised in the framework of the Baltic Pride 2013 events on Saturday.

Organisers say the conference will seek to review the progress of LGBT rights across Europe and evaluate and anticipate activities to ensure the rights of European citizens.

European politicians and representatives of non-governmental organisations plan to attend the conference.

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