nationalist groups have issued a joint statement stating
that if a gay pride event occurs this weekend in the
Latvian capital of Riga, it may result in violent
The event is
scheduled for Saturday at the 11th November Embankment,
where a key battle for Latvian independence was fought.
"It is completely
unacceptable to us as nationalist Latvians that on May
31 of this year, one of the central symbols of Latvian
statehood and national self-understanding, the 11th
November Shoreline, will be used by minorities of
sexual inclinations to propagate their absolutely unhealthy
views and amoral way of life," the nationalists' statement
Resistance to the
Pride event has also come from Riga's deputy mayor,
Andris Argalis, who called it "propaganda of perversion."
"I don't believe
that we should spoil a few percent of society members
by allowing them to propagate their perversion," Argalis
told LETA, Latvia's national news agency.
going to have to afford the same opportunities to
other, similar groups of sexual oddities -- flashers,
exhibitionists, glue-sniffers," said Argalis. Cardinal
Janis Pujats, head of Latvia's Catholic Church, wrote
an open letter to encourage the citizens of Latvia to
counterdemonstrate against the annual Riga Pride.
newspaper Ritienda published Cardinal Pujats's
letter, titled "Defending Family Values." In it Pujats
describes homosexual behavior as an "unnatural form of
prostitution" and says that "homosexuality is against the
natural order and, therefore, against the laws of
God." Twenty-six priests from Roman Catholic
congregations signed the letter, and it was sent to
Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis, Interior Minister Mareks
Seglins, and the Riga city council.
the Latvian capital had banned the gay parade on public
grounds in 2006, but activists decided to continue with
smaller activities. Participants were attacked with
eggs and bags of excrement by protesters when they
celebrated Riga Pride.
authorities in Riga said the event was canceled to avoid
public disorder after Christians, nationalists, and
neo-Nazis threatened to use violence against the Pride
politicians from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the European
parliament joined the Riga Pride march, and the event
proceeded peacefully. (The Advocate)