Baltic Pride event kickoff not without protests

DELFI / Domantas Pipas

As the event, Pride Voices, inside the theatre encouraged tolerance of the LGBT community, a crowd of several dozen people gathered outside the Russian Drama Theatre to protest.

“We are not happy that the drama theatre (hosted such an event,” said Seimas member and Lithuanian Russian Union leader Sergejus Dmitrijevas. “This is our place and we Russians love it with all our hearts and have been going here our entire lives. It’s sad to see that there was a misunderstanding with the leader.” He said he would encourage the theatre’s director to resign and would ask the Ministry of Culture to fire him if he did not.

Inside, Vladimir Simonko, the head of the Lithuanian Gay League, declined to comment on the protest. After speaking to guests about tolerance and the LGBT community, he said “I believe that these walls will always let us travel to places we want to live in. I think it will be an excellent journey because today, on this stage, I invite you to be my close friends. Today, I will not address you by your titles. I think that, today, we should all be together regardless of who we are. I think that this space will grant us a wonderful celebration.”

During the event, well-known people and human rights activists shared their experiences in the fight for equal rights. Some attendees included Iceland Prime Minister Johana Sigurdardottir and her partner, writer Jonina Leosdottir, European Parliame vice-chairwoman Ulrike Lunacek, and Swedish Minister of Culture and Democracy Alice Bah Kuhnke.

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