On Saturday the 21st of June, 2015, the national LGBT* organization LGL marched in Riga at Europride 2015. The event will be remembered as historical for two main reasons. First of all, Latvia has been the first post-Soviet country to host the festivity of EuroPride. Secondly, attendance to the event reached the impressive number of 5’000 people, thus exceeding the organizers’ initial predictions of only 2’000 people participating to the event.
Starting point of the march was Vērmanes Park, in the heart of Riga. Around 13:30 a peaceful, colorful and joyful procession begun to march around the streets of the Latvian capital-city for more than 2.3 km, four times more than it happened during the previous Baltic Pride in Riga. The parade was heavily policed and the organizers of EuroPride did an incredible work to ensure the maximum level of safety for demonstrators. Despite some homophobic posters and few protestors who burned a rainbow flag and threw a couple of eggs to the demonstrators, the parade proceeded smoothly and successfully.
Besides LGL, different organizations from Lithuania participated to the event, among these Tolerance and Youth Association, the Lithuanian Centre of Human Rights, Foundation Frida, Association Demetra, Ad hoc: Inconvenient Films, Youth Line, National Institute for Social Integration, No Labels and the Demos Institute of Critical Thought just to cite few of them.
In occasion of EuroPride, LGL organized a bus from Vilnius to Riga, giving the unique opportunity to more than fifty people from the LGBT* community of Vilnius and the towns nearby to participate to EuroPride 2015. During the bus ride, feminist activist Margarita Jankauskaitė entertained participants with the passionate and enthusiastic lecture “EuroPride 2015: the importance of openness to myself and others”. LGL’s group stood out from the parade for the bright colors of the posters, t-shirts, flags of its demonstrators, thus capturing and catalyzing the full attention of media and photographers.
Thanks to the help of volunteers, LGL’s stand was one of the most visited one among those in Vērmanes Park. Many donations for t-shirts, bags and pins were given by participants to the event in support of the organization for Baltic Pride 2016, in Vilnius. The march was followed by a relaxing afternoon characterized by concerts and speeches given by famous activists and political figures from around the world.
LGL photos. © Photo courtesy of ARCANA FEMINA photography and Nathalie Sibille
LGL’s participation to the event has been possible thanks to the generous help of AI Finland.