Latvian Homophobic Group Threatens to Shut Down EuroPride
This month Latvia's most prominent LGBT organizations, the Association of LGBT and MOZAIKA, were denied public spaces for the much-anticipated EuroPride. The event, scheduled for June 20th, is a pan-European celebration of LGBT communities that dates back to 1993 in London. Riga, this year’s host, has successfully held LGBT Pride events for ten years without issue.
In an attempt to block the event, a Latvian organization called the Anti-Globalists used a loophole in municipal regulations to disrupt the LGBT community's original plans. The homophobic group booked all of the event locations that EuroPride’s organizers intended to use. Although reservations typically can’t be made until four months before an event, the Anti-Globalists were able to book the spaces for June 20th early by filing for a week-long permit that begins several days before the EuroPride celebrations.
This move is part of the Anti-Globalists' efforts to uphold so-called "traditional values.” They have also publicly accused the LGBT community of trying to “destroy the family” and called homosexuality a treatable disease. Their official website address is No-Homo.lv.
Without permits for Riga’s public spaces, EuroPride organizers will be forced to seek alternatives to the celebration’s date or location. Despite the obstacles, MOZAIKA is urging international guests to still attend the event.
The organizers of EuroPride have appealed to the Latvian Minister of Justice to overturn the Anti-Globalists’ filing on the grounds that it was done solely to disrupt and provoke the LGBT community. The minister, however, has publicly made remarks disparaging the Latvian LGBT community and is not likely to grant EuroPride’s appeal.
Latvia holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union, which espouses the fundamental values of human rights and democracy, including the protection of the human rights of LGBT people. If they wish to maintain their reputation as a country that respects these values, Latvian officials should stop the homophobic obstructionism and ensure that EuroPride can conduct a safe and successful event.