Lithuanian LGBT Activists Join a World-Wide Campaign to Protest against homophobic Laws in Russia
On 8 September 2013 around 40 Lithuanian LGBT activists staged a rally outside the Russian Embassy in Vilnius, protesting against “homosexual anti-propaganda” laws in Russia. While wearing t-shirts with the slogans "To Russia with Love" and buttons with colorfully painted portraits of Vladimir Putin, the protesters said that the main purpose of the event was not only to support the Russian LGBT community, but also to warn the Lithuanian government.
15min.lt reports that the event in Vilnius was part of a global campaign which seeks to draw attention to homophobic legislation in Russia, outlawing any positive representation and advocacy of LGBT rights, and growing violence against non-heterosexual people in the country.
"We want to show solidarity with our friends in Russia, we are doing it with means that are legal, but at the same time, it is a strong message to our own community, society, our government that similar laws are in power in Lithuania which will soon equal Russia with its homophobic legislative initiatives," said Vladimir Simonko, the Board Chair of the Lithuanian Gay League (LGL).
According to Aliona Polujanova, one of the organizers of the event, the organizers did not expect a response from the Russian Embassy. "Embassy staff does not necessarily approve of what is happening in Russia, but they will do whatever the Kremlin tells them to," she smiled.
Of the Lithuanian political parties, only the Liberal Movement, a center-right party currently in the opposition, was represented in the event. The party's spokesman Tomas Revesas said that the reason that the liberals joined the protest rally was not just to defend LGBT rights, but also to protest against any human rights violations in the Russian Federation.
The pictures from the event could be found here and here