‘No homo’ group in Latvia finds way to block EuroPride

A group of ‘no-homo’ activists is trying to kill off EuroPride 2015, due to be held in Riga, Latvia. Calling themselves ‘Anti-Globalists’ (Antiglobālisti), the homophobic activists appear to have found a way to ensure the Pride event for Europe will not happen on its scheduled date of 20 June and may not happen at all.

When Mozaika, the gay rights group planning this year’s EuroPride, turned up to Riga City Council first thing on 20 February – they got a shock. The ‘traditional values’ campaigners had already booked a protest for ‘sexual deviations and various perversions, as well as other strange things’ at the time and in the locations Mozaika wanted to use. Antiglobālisti had used a loophole to get around the rule that an application to hold an event can only be filed four months in advance.

They made their event a week-long festival, starting before and finishing after EuroPride, allowing them to apply before Mozaika. While it is not entirely clear what the group stands for, they have set up the website NoHomo.lv, state they favor ‘traditional values’ and are anti-Europe. On their website, they assert: ‘Homosexuality is a disease. Homosexuality is treatable.’ ‘They’re accusing us of destroying the natural Latvian family,’ Kaspars Zalitas, the co-chair of EuroPride 2015 told.

‘We were quite surprised they found a loophole in the law. That means without special creative thinking, we have no alternatives at this moment.’ When Mozaika went to the city council and complained that Anti-Globalists had booked the event to specifically stop theirs from happening, the authorities did little to help. Confirming this Riga City Council said they contacted the Ministry of Justice, who will make the final decision on which group can have the dates.

‘We are not optimistic. The Ministry of Justice minister is openly homophobic, accusing the LGBT community of being a “faggot mafia”,’ Zalitas said. But despite this he believes he will find a way forward for EuroPride. Zalitas said: ‘We believe the idea of justice and human rights will win in the end. We’re very sad this situation has happened because they knew this event would happen. In 10 years after the first Pride in this country, there’s still drama.

‘Please come to EuroPride, in Riga – this is exactly what we need the most. We need to show Latvian society that there is an international LGBTI community that is standing for human rights. EuroPride has never been so close to Russia, and the more people that come, the louder our voices will be.’