A court in Lithuania has given its final approval for a Baltic Pride march to go ahead along a central avenue in capital Vilnius this Saturday (27 July).
The Mayor and city authorities had tried to block the march saying it would be a ‘threat to public peace’, but Vilnius Regional Administrative Court ruled earlier this month that the march should be permitted.
Today the court gave their final approval, which cannot be appealed, and ordered that the City of Vilnius make the final arrangements for the pride march along Gediminas Avenue with the Lithuania Gay League (LGL) by 11am this Thursday (25 July).
‘Democracy does not simply mean the reign of the majority attitude,’ said a statement from the court.
‘It has taken us seven months to prove that human rights do exist in Lithuania and Gediminas Avenue belongs to everyone,’ said Vladimir Simonko, leader of the LGL, said after the ruling.
Evelyne Paradis, executive director of LGBT rights advocates ILGA-Europe, released a statement saying:
‘We warmly welcome today’s ruling, which is not only just but the only possible verdict in any country committed to human rights. We regret that the Mayor of Vilnius has continuously denied permission for this event to take place on the main city’s avenue and that he chose to challenge all court judgements issued in favor of the organizers of the Baltic Pride.’
Paradis also said emphasized that ‘the marchers must be protected and their safety ensured’ especially as Lithuania is the the current host of the EU presidency and ‘a public face of the European Union’.
According to ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Europe Index (May 2013), Lithuania is 31st among 49 European countries in terms of laws and policies affecting the human rights of LGBTI people.
Baltic Pride 2013 includes exhibitions, film screenings, theatre, literature readings and a march on Saturday 27 July.