Lithuanian court bans gay pride parade
A court in Lithuania Wednesday banned a parade of gay and lesbian groups in the capital, Vilnius, due to take place on May 9, DPA reported.
Vilnius County Administrative Court annulled a license permitting the Balti Pride parade issued by the Vilnius municipal authorities in response to a submission from acting prosecutor general Raimondas Petrauskas.
He claimed that allowing the parade of groups from Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia could lead to public disturbances.
"We have reason to believe that the state will not be able to provide proper protection for the participants," the submission said.
Vytautas Valentinavicius, chairman of the Tolerant Youth Association, one of the organizers of the rally, told the Baltic News Service the court's decision was "beyond understanding" and that he would seek legal advice on an appeal.
Tensions in staunchly Catholic Lithuania have been steadily rising ahead of the Baltic Pride parade, which forms part of a five-day festival and conference on the subject of equal rights for sexual minorities.
Official opposition to the event has attracted widespread international criticism of Lithuania.
On April 4 human rights organization Amnesty International issued a statement calling on Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite to voice support for Baltic Pride.
"The banning of the march, or the failure to ensure the safety of its participants, would send a signal to all Lithuanians, and the rest of the world, that human rights are only selectively upheld there," Amnesty International said.
Lithuania has recently also come under attack for introducing legislation called the Law on Protection of Minors from the Detrimental Effects of Public Information, which civil rights groups claimed was explicitly anti-gay.