This year Baltic Pride was held in Vilnius, Lithuania, making it the country’s very first Pride march. There was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the event. As it was the country’s very first pride march, no one really knew what to expect. In addition, much political maneuvering went on to try and get the march cancelled with the courts lifting its suspension only a day before the Saturday march.
However, this pride had a lot of support from the EU, with many VIPs in attendance, and backing from large organizations like Amnesty and ILGA-Europe. This pressure for the march to run smoothly encouraged the government to provide approximately 800 policemen to secure the safety of the event.
The morning of the event, a prayer service was held asking God not to let the Pride march happen.
Due to security reasons, participants of Baltic Pride boarded large buses to take them to the event, and to safely return them.
While 350 participants took place in the Baltic Pride Equality March, thousands of people gathered to watch, and some to show their displeasure. The Neris river acted as a barrier on one side, while police secured the perimeters from protestors. Many of the protestors on the South side of the river, spent the whole day just sitting on the bank staring across the river.
Among the agitators was a small group of Nazis, yelling homophobic slogans. Even though it is against the law to fly the swastika in Lithuania, the police would not remove the flag as the symbol had minor changes from the original.
Despite the protestors, the event ran smoothly, much to the relief of all those involved. The final message was that next year another Baltic Pride would be held, this one in Estonia.