Vilnius Mayor seems no obstacles for hosting Baltic Gay Pride parade next year

Vilnius’ Conservative mayor Vilius Navickas says there are no hindrances for hosting a Baltic gay pride parade in the Lithuanian capital next year. His statement came in comment of reports in the Latvian media that Latvia’s sexual minority organizations believe Vilnius administration would not allow the event in Lithuania.
“I have not heard anything about it yet but we have never said we would definitely refuse (the permit). I do not see any super special problems, we will consider every application we receive,” said Navickas. He has said that he would allow the above-mentioned minorities to stage a rally on a suburban Savanoriu Avenue, however, would not tolerate a demonstration in the city center.
The leader of the Lithuanian Gay League, Vladimiras Simonko, on Tuesday could not specify the Vilnius locations chosen as venue of the rally timed for May 2010 or the appearance of the event. In his words, the Baltic Pride parade in Lithuania would be attended by guests from Latvia, Estonia, Poland, as well as representatives of the Amnesty International organization, Dutch MPs and others. Simonko said there can be no guesswork about cancellation of the event.
“The Vilnius administration will have to answer the question whether human rights apply to everybody or just to privileged citizens. The question will have to be answered sooner or later, and the year 2010 will be an opportunity for, probably, the new president to focus on the matter, as well (…). There can be no guesswork about canceling the event. Lithuania is committed to observing the Convention on Human Rights and will have to find possibilities in one way or another for the event,” said Simonko. He said he had received promises from ambassadors of Western countries to support the parade.
The 2009 parade of sexual minorities took place in the Latvian capital Riga last Saturday, bringing together 300-400 people from the Baltic states and the rest of Europe.
Last August, the then Vilnius mayor Juozas Imbrasas refused to allow an European Commission’s truck “For Diversity. Against Discrimination” in the Lithuanian capital.