Last Sunday, Member of the Lithuanian Parliament Algirdas Vaclovas Patackas warned that the head of the Lithuanian Gay League’s (LGL) engaged in “provocation” that might result in “dead bodies”, similar to recent attacks in Paris.
The MP made the remarks after LGL’s head, Vladimir Simonko, suggested that the organisation should consider buying the now obsolete 10-litas notes. The note features two men in uniforms.
Vaclovas said that for this remark, Mr Simonko “might face no less than black, repulsive and totally unacceptable response”.
Homophobia and (political) hate speech in Lithuania are a large problem. The LGBT Survey of 2013 by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency shows that 87% of the respondents in Lithuania indicate that expressions of hatred and aversion towards LGBT people in public are widespread.
Daniele Viotti MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup, reacted: “The remarks by Mr Patackas are very dangerous, and might even breach Lithuania’s own laws against hate speech. Politicians should know better than to make derogatory and hateful comments.”
“It is time for both national and international leaders to voice loud and clearly that in a European Lithuania of the 21st century there is no place for such homophobic statements.”
Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP added: “In the summer of 2013 we celebrated a wonderful Pride in Vilnius, with great support of the police forces and local authorities, in a great atmosphere. I want to cherish this sunny, tolerant, festive image of Vilnius, city that hosted the wonderful event organised by Vladimir Simonko.”
“The hate speech of Mr Patackas is an ugly blot on the positive image of the country. Mr Patackas’ threats are not only threats against Mr Simonko, but threats against fundamental rights, threats against European values, threats against the image of Lithuania. We express our full support for Mr Simonko.”
The European Parliament Intergroup’s on LGBT Rights press release