Lithuanian president refuses to comment on Vilnius gay march ban

Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Reposted from The Lithuania Tribune:

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė on Friday refused to comment on Vilnius authorities’ recent decision to ban a gay march through central Gediminas Avenue.

“I would definitely not want to comment on the municipality’s responsibility,” she told journalists in Brussels, when asked whether the march through Gediminas Avenue should be allowed.

According to Grybauskaitė, the court ruling means that “the municipality is responsible” for agreeing “with those interested in holding any marches.”

“Court rulings must be executed, and an agreement must be reached, and the location and everything else is the result of negotiations of the two parties,” the President said.

Vilnius authorities on Wednesday refused to allow a gay march through central Gediminas Avenue in late July, citing security reasons.

The municipality said in a statement that “there’s a strong possibility that incidents may repeat, despite the police involvement, and there may also be a threat to the public order, morality and public security.”

Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius on Wednesday refused to comment on the issue, saying that it’s the issue of competence of politicians from Vilnius Municipality.

The Lithuanian Gay League pledged to appeal. It has already won one appeal case after a court ordered Vilnius authorities to review its decision to allow a gay march only through Upės Street a bit further from central Vilnius.

The position of Vilnius authorities was also condemned by Amnesty International.

The march is planned on 27 July, 2013.

The first gay march in Lithuania took place in 2010, which was also preceded by court hearings on the march location and permission to hold it. The march itself took place eventually, with several hundred people marching through a heavily-guarded territory in the presence of around a thousand protesters.

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