Lithuania: Amnesty dismayed by mayor's decision to ban gay rally

Gays rights conference attacked by smoke bombs after rally was banned

Amnesty International is deeply concerned by yesterday’s attacks on the gay community in Vilnius, which saw the mayor ban a rally and a smoke bomb attack on a conference, and has called on the Lithuanian authorities to act.

The gays right rally was banned by the local mayor, Juozas Imbrasas, because of what he said were “safety concerns”, due to building works over the original route. He failed to offer an alternative. Then later in the day, a conference organised by IGLA Europe, a gays rights group based in Brussels, and attended by 200 individuals, was attacked by smoke bombs.

Amnesty International said:

“Sadly these events are not a one off. Lithuania has repeatedly failed to protect and respect the rights of their gay community.

“To persecute people for their sexual orientation is to violate their fundamental human rights.

“Amnesty International calls on the Lithuanian authorities to respect the right to peaceful freedom of assembly for all, the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation and to actively promote respect for diversity in their country.

“The Lithuanian authorities also need to offer adequate police protection to the country’s gay community.”

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