Protesters calling on Tuesday for
Riga Pride to be banned this weekend. The demonstration was organised by the No Pride coalition.
RIGA, May 31, 2007 (UK Gay
News) — Foreign guests, please don’t come to
Latvia for Riga Friendship Days and Gay Pride. That is the message from the
‘No Pride’ group, who have not headed their own
They say on their website: “Foreign Guests please don’t
come. It’s our problem. Not yours!”
However, foreign guests appear to be welcome to be in
town for the four-day ‘festival’, which
has opened today (May
they support the No Pride viewpoint.
Scott Lively, the American author of
The Pink Swastika,
is reported to be already in Riga.
“He has asked if he can attend the conference on family
models in Latvia and Europe,” a spokesperson for Mozaika, the organisers of
Riga Friendship Days and Gay Pride, said last night.
There are rumours here that the American preacher and
former NFL linebacker Ken Hutcherson, who heads
the Antioch Bible Church in Seattle,
will also be in Riga this weekend.
Both Lively and Hutcherson were in Riga earlier this year
following in invitation from the New Generation Church. It was on this
visit that Hutcherson said that he was an “envoy of the White House”, which
was subsequently strongly denied by the White House.
■ The spelling could be better, but
the message is clear. One example of the anti-gay graffiti that
can be seen in Riga.
photo: UK Gay News
Family Models: Diversity and
Equality, which is financially supported by the European Union, has run
into problems already. It was scheduled to be held at the Riga
But yesterday, Mozaika was told that the
pulled the event, which is now being held at the nearby Islande Hotel, Ķīpsalas iela 20.
The Mozaika spokesperson said that all the
indications are that pressure was put on the
Congress Hall management,
probably the threat of a blockade of the building which was the tactic of No
Pride last year.
Anti-Gay and Pride factions have also managed to get the
Double Coffee chain of coffeehouses to remove the Mozaika postcards from
rack in their many Riga outlets.
“Threats were made to the company,” the spokesperson
said. “And Double Coffee capitulated.”
This move has shocked gays in Riga, who are now
boycotting the company.
On Tuesday, the No Pride group, a
groups that include the New Generation Church, the National Front, and ad
hoc ‘skinhead’ groups, staged a demonstration against Friendship Days and
“We are not against homosexuals,” said Karlis Dumbris of
the radical National Front. “They can do whatever they want — but we are
against them spreading propaganda about their lifestyle.”
Around 60 people were at Tuesday’s protest, demanding
that the Pride be banned.
This year, police have tightened their security plans for
the march on Sunday which organisers predict will be attended by about 400,
including activists from Sweden, Norway, the
as well as from the European
Viacheslau Bortnik from Amnesty International
Belarus will be in Riga
— and Nikolai Alekseev, one of the organisers and chief
spokesperson of last weekend’s Moscow Pride,
is hoping to be in Riga.
“The problem of getting Nikolai here is
with the procedures at the Latvian
Moscow and if we can get them to speed up the visa processing process,” a Mozaika spokesperson said.
“After last weekend’s events in Moscow, if he is able to
get here, Nikolai will get a hero's welcome from the gay community.”
■ Linda Freimane, a
board member of Mozaika, is interviewed by
Last year, officials banned the gay Pride parade. But
indoor events went ahead, the No Pride protesters showed up and pelted
participants with animal excrement and eggs. The pervious year , No Pride
supporters tried to physically block the path of the parade.
But this year, with a new Mayor, the situation is
think things will be different this year because police are being very
cooperative and they understand that they need to protect us," Mozaika
board member Linda Freimane told Jörgen Rasmussen of Reuters
Privately, some, including the police, are concerned that the events in
Moscow last weekend might have given the anti-gay factions added impetus to
cause as much disruption as possible.
programme of events (in English), please visit the
UK and Sweden Show Official Support for Riga Gay Pride.
Support for Riga Friendship Days and Gay Pride has come
today from the British Ambassador, the Chief of Staff of the Swedish Navy
and an MEP — all hoping for a “celebration’ when the
main event, the parade, takes place in Vermanes Park on Sunday.
(UK Gay News, June 1, 2007)
Proposed Partnership Law to Include Gays Will Be Launched Friday at Riga
Pride. A draft new partnership law will a unveiled on
Friday at a Riga Friendship Days and Gay Pride seminar.
(UK Gay News, May 29, 2007)
Government Minister to Attend Riga Gay Pride.
A government minister is to head a delegation of more than 70 people from
Sweden to the Riga Friendship Days and Gay Pride, which gets underway on
Thursday May 31.
(UK Gay News, May 24, 2007)
Catholic Cardinal Calls Gays ‘Prostitutes’ in Latvian
With less than four weeks to go
before the start of Riga Pride and Friendship Days, Cardinal Jānis Pujāts,
head of the Roman Catholic Church in Latvia, has defined homosexuality as a
“total corruption in the sexual arena” an “unnatural form of prostitution”
and calls on the government to protect “the values of the traditional family
against the licentiousness of homosexuals” in a letter published by a
(UK Gay News, May 10, 2007)
■ The No Pride group have been
fly-posting throughout Riga, including on the street litter bins.
31 May 2007 at