Zuokas – Vilnius does not need events like Baltic Pride
Reposted from The Lithuania Tribune/Delfi: http://en.delfi.lt/46189/zuokas-vilnius-does-not-need-events-like-baltic-pride-201346189/
The LGBT March for Equality parade that took place in the Lithuanian capital on 27 July 2013 did not promote tolerance but instead triggered increased confrontation of society, Vilnius Mayor Arturas Zuokas says.
According to Zuokas, Vilnius does not need any more of these kinds of events.
“Vilnius needs no more of these festivals. I believe the developments on Saturday serve as yet more clear proof of the event having nothing to do with promoting tolerance. It was more of a tool for propaganda of one’s own values and lifestyle,” Zuokas told BNS.
The mayor said he had no remarks for the Lithuanian Gay League in connection to the event, which went without any major incidents.
“We have no remarks. The event did not lead to any major incidents, but of course, it involved extensive efforts on the part of the police and the municipality to organise the event, and ensure public peace during the event,” said Zuokas.
“We could have avoided the furore, had the organisers accepted the proposal to hold the parade on Upes Street. The aim of the event, which was to promote tolerance, was not achieved, and this is something we regret,” Zuokas further commented.
About 500 citizens participated in the March for Equality in Vilnius last Saturday, while the crowd of observers including opponents numbered approximately 700.
Among the participants were MEPs, the Swedish Minister of European Union Affairs Birgitta Ohlsson, Stuart Milk, the nephew of the late openly gay Californian activist and politician Harvey Milk, and various foreign ambassadors.
The large police presence during the Saturday’s rally led to the detention of 28 individuals for hooliganism, including MP Petras Grazulis, and Kaunas ex-mayor Vytautas Sustauskas, former MP and the leader of the Union of Fighters for Lithuania.
Two pre-trial investigations have been started.
This year’s event was the first parade sanctioned to take place on the central Vilnius street following a court ruling.
The Vilnius municipality initially refused to sanction the venue, however, the court revoked the conclusion.
The first Baltic Pride parade took place on the remote Upes Street in 2010.