Over 1,000 protesters showed up
Saturday to demonstrate against Lithuania's first gay pride parade,
the AP reported.
Opponents threw stones, shouted
anti-gay slurs and hurled smoke bombs at participants taking part in
Baltic Pride 2010 in Lithuania's capital city of Vilnius.
About 400 people marched inside a
sealed-off area near the city's Neris river for about 2 hours as
opponents were kept at bay by a large police presence and barricades.
Protesters said they took issue with
the large influx of foreigners participating in the parade.
“Sweden has already wiped out
traditional families,” said one protester referring to Sweden's
recent gay marriage law. “Now they come over here to tell us how
to live, how to think and who to sleep with. Lithuania will not
allow such perversions.”
Two lawmakers attempted to incite a
riot when they encouraged protesters to climb the barricade. They
threw stones and even road signs at the marchers; police responded
with tear gas and the crowd retreated.
Police officials said 19 people were
detained, including the two lawmakers.
The parade was opposed by a majority of
Lithuania's largely Roman Catholic population. Catholics gathered
before the event at the nearby national cathedral to pray for gay men
On Friday, the country's highest court
reversed a lower court ruling that banned the parade from taking
place. The Supreme Administration court said that the parade – as
a form of assembly and free speech – was protected by the European
Convention and that the government is obligated to defend such
Gay rights leaders vowed to return next year.