Up to 1,000 people are expected to participate in the LGBT march through the centre of the Lithuanian capital on June 18.
“We are Lithuanian citizens and we live here and we don’t want some politicians or a certain part of the society to regard us as propaganda,” Vladimir Simonko, leader of the Lithuanian Gay League (LGL), said at a news conference given on Friday to present next week’s Baltic Pride events.
“We are not statistical units. We are those who live next to others. In think our message would be to increase visibility and promote tolerance,” he said.
The program of the festival, scheduled for June 16 through 19, includes a human rights conference and a meeting with members of the LGBT community, as well as a march, a rally, a concert, a film festival and parties.
“The motto of the festival is ‘We Are People, Not Propaganda’. The motto is aimed at drawing the attention of the society and our politicians to the discriminatory Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information and the non-existent possibility for same-sex families to formalize their relationship,” the LGL leader said.
Those planning to take part in the LGBT events in Vilnius include former Icelandic Prime Minister Johana Sigurdardottir and her partner, author Jonina Leosdottir, European Parliament Vice President Ulrike Lunacek, and Swedish Minister for Culture and Democracy Alice Bah Kuhnke, and others.
Ambassadors of four countries are planning to participate in this year’s Baltic Pride march.
Organizers say that Vilnius’ authorities have issued permission for up to 1,000 participants to march from Lukiškės Square via Gedimino Avenue to the Bernardinai Garden. The city’s police have promised to ensure safety and public order.