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Vilnius authorities to appeal against LGBT pride march ruling

Baltic pride Vilnius 2010
Irmanto Gelūno / 15min nuotr. / Baltic pride Vilnius 2010
Šaltinis: BNS

Vilnius City Municipality announced on Monday it would appeal against Vilnius Regional Administrative Court's ruling which ordered it to make arrangements for an LGBT pride march on the city's central Gedimino Avenue.

"Having analyzed the court ruling and motives, the administration of Vilnius City Municipality Council decided to appeal against the court ruling ordering it to make arrangements for the association Lithuanian Gay League to be issued permission to march through Gedimino Avenue," Vilnius authorities said in a statement on Monday.

According to the municipality, the court decided to hear the case in one working day form the receipt of the appeal, and the municipality was given only 28 hours to submit arguments and explanations.

Vilnius authorities believe that the court was wrong in saying that the march would only pass institutional and court buildings and no protests would be held outside institutions since the organizers had decided to spread the rainbow flag in Lukiškių Square and deliver final speeches there.

Edvardas Varoneckas, head of the municipality's Legal Department, had told the court that a march through Gedimino Avenue was impossible as it would violate the requirement to hold pickets and rallies at a certain distance from government institutions and court buildings.

Vilnius Municipality suggests holding a gay march on Upės Street a little further from Vilnius center. The organizers, however, want to march through Gedimino Avenue, saying it is a venue of symbolic significance that often hosts rallies and events of other groups.

The Lithuanian Gay League has already won one appeal case when the court ruled that Vilnius authorities cannot choose a venue for an event.

The organizers maintain that the march, which is like those held in many Western countries, is important in drawing public attention to the discrimination of LGBT people and promoting equality. Meanwhile, some critics in Lithuania say it "promotes homosexuality."

The March For Equality is planned for July 27.

The first gay pride parade in Lithuania took place in 2010 and was also preceded by court hearings on the venue and permission to hold it. The march itself took place eventually, with several hundred people marching through a heavily-guarded territory in the presence of around a thousand protesters.

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