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Pride in Latvia- to the streets

category international | gender and sexuality | news report author Friday August 01, 2008 19:14author by Paula Geraghtyauthor email mspgeraghty at yahoo dot ie Report this post to the editors

Last year Pride in Latvia took place hemmed in a closed off park surrounded by Riot Police and hundreds of homophobic protesters.
These images and report follows on the fight for sexual freedom and civil rights one year on in Latvia.
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Mozaika's pride event took place at the start of June and marked a new departure for gay rights in Latvia. Officially sanctioned, it moved from a park to the symbolic street along the river where the homophobic anti pride festival last year took place. It is also significant a a site of Latvian Independance. Hundreds gathered and the march had a strong international attendance. While there may have been fewer present the homophobic presence had all but collapsed.

As with last year, people found it difficult to get in with only one access point available and the parade was fenced in. The impact of the counter protest served to demoralise but later on that evening it emerged that while people were reluctant to take to the streets, Riga played host to a vibrant Gay scene with an interesting club called Best Boy opening (you couldn't make it up!).

Again at the end people removed their bright clothes and were bussed out to the exact same spot as last year.

Some days later the British embassy flew the rainbow flag of Pride showing from a diplomatic viewpoint where it stood on the matter.

Blogging account from Donncha of Amnesty International
http://blog.amnesty.org/prideblog/?p=30

More comprehensively around Europe
http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/gay-rig...80605

pretty good youtube libertarian video- Latvia's countrerpart to Iris Robinson is interviewed
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mipwhfyf_L0&feature=related

images (c)

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/83136

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author by Paula Geraghtypublication date Fri Aug 01, 2008 19:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

(c)

Those protesting the Pride were mostly from Russian Orthodox and Evangeilcal Christian groups. A major US based church group is funding one of these groups. Latvian politics is interesting, to put it mildly. Since the collapse of the former Soviet empire Russians in Latvia don't have equal rights and must sit a Latvian exam and pass Latvian language tests. Many older people can't pass and will never be citizens as long as this rule is in place. Most homophobic signs are in Russian and religious groups are hearkening back to a time of stability that existed under the Soviet system.

The hate and bigotry is vile and disturbing but as it's far away sometimes in Ireland we're a bit cocooned from it. In the 80's tens of thousands left ireland due to the culture of repression here. How many people have left Latvia for Ireland for similar reasons?

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author by Paula Geraghtypublication date Fri Aug 01, 2008 19:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

(c) images

Thanks to all who made me most welcome!

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Linda Freimeine, Chair of Mozaika
Linda Freimeine, Chair of Mozaika

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hiding Pride
hiding Pride

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author by Mark Cpublication date Fri Aug 01, 2008 21:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Paula,

Well done with this. It's great to see feedback and updates being added. Your photos are very well taken too (even if I have reservations about the (c) thing).

Hopefully, this type article will help the fight for equal rights in Latvia.

Mark.

author by embeddedpublication date Fri Aug 01, 2008 22:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

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Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video


 
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