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International angry over disastrous Riga pride

International angry over disastrous Riga pride

The human rights organization Amnesty International on Tuesday condemned Latvian officials for allowing rampant abuse against LGBT officials to occur during Saturday's unofficial--and disastrous--Riga pride events.

Police failed to protect gays, lesbians, and their supporters from physical and verbal abuse at the events, according to Amnesty.

"The Latvian authorities kept talking about security threats, but when it came to actually protecting the LGBT community, the police were slow to show up and did little," said Michael Heflin, director of OUTfront, Amnesty International's program on LGBT human rights. "These incidents reflect a disturbing pattern of Latvian authorities' failing to protect the basic human rights of LGBT people."

Last week Riga's city council banned the official pride celebration because of alleged threats of violence to participants. The city council's move was viewed as a violation of the rights to freedom of assembly and expression guaranteed under European and international human rights standards.

On Saturday gay rights supporters attended a church service in support of Riga's gay population but were attacked by protesters who threw eggs and excrement. According to Amnesty, organizers of this event previously requested police protection but received scant security. (The Advocate)

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