Future Vilnius mayor has “no problems” with LGBT pride events on central streets

DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

“I see no problems with any parades,” Šimašius said in an interview to BNS on Monday.

“All types of parades of whoever wants to march will be allowed, as long as they do not disturb other residents of Vilnius. We must enjoy democracy in Vilnius. I see no reasons for banning someone from marching along Gedimino Avenue, if it is not the rush hour,” the newly-elected mayor of the Lithuanian capital added.

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In 2013, Vilnius administration suggested moving a planned gay pride parade to more remote Upės Street, but a court later ruled that the restriction was ungrounded. About 500 members of the LGBT community and their supporters then marched on Gedimino Avenue, while about the same number of people gathered to protest against the parade.

Vilnius Mayor Artūras Zuokas, who lost Sunday’s election to Šimašius, then stated that “Vilnius definitely does not need such festivals,” adding that it antagonized people rather than promoted tolerance.

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Lithuania’s first Baltic Pride march took place on Upės Street in 2010 – the city administration then wanted to ban the event but a court decided it had to take place.

Vilnius will host Baltic Pride parade for the third time next year.

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A poll published in February showed that 15 percent of respondents in Lithuania supported same-sex partnership, while 79 percent were against.

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