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Latvia: Has Country Reached the Tipping Point on LGBT Rights?

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

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Local gay activist Kaspars Zalitis thinks so, and hopes change will come soon to the European country.

SDGLN reports:

Zalitis recalls the early years of Gay Pride festivities, such as in 2006 when 70 or so LGBT people bravely marched in the Riga Pride Parade under the guard of hundreds of police officers outfitted in riot gear as 3,000 angry agitators hurled human excrement, holy water and rotten tomatoes at them. In following years, authorities put up fences and forced Pride participants into a “zoo” like environment where the homophobes and haters – an unholy alliance of neo-Nazis, right-wingers, ultra-nationalists and Christian fundamentalists — surrounded them shouting anti-gay slogans and tossing objects into their midst.

By 2012, Zalitis says, the fence came down and the opposition grew less violent. “We didn’t have to walk in the ‘zoo’ anymore,” he said. That same year, Riga won its bid to host Europride 2015. The international event, featuring artistic and sports activities in addition to the Pride Parade, debuted in London in 1992, and has since been staged in cities such as Berlin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Paris, Stockholm, Vienna, Madrid, Manchester, Oslo and Hamburg.

Just as LGBT rights are slowly marching across the South here in the US, they are also making their way into former communist block countries in Eastern Europe.

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