Baltic Pride – Lithuania – May 8, 2010

Baltic Pride

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.
Lithuanian Police protecting Baltic Pride

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.

Anti-gay prayer service

The morning of the event, a prayer service was held asking God not to let the Pride march happen.

Participants of Baltic Pride Due to security reasons, participants of Baltic Pride boarded large buses to take them to the event, and to safely return them.

Baltic Pride

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.

Nazis protesting Baltic Pride

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.

Pride Supporters at Baltic Pride

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.

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About wwpproject

Charles “Chad” Meacham (Project photographer) Charles was born just outside of Philadelphia, PA, and began traveling immediately after high school. He picked up a camera at the age of 30, and has since been fortunate to win over 20 international awards including those from National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian, and PDN magazines. The idea for this project was sparked after attending the 2009 Taipei Pride event, one of the largest pride parades in Asia. For other examples of his work visit: http://www.charlesmeacham.com/ Sarah Baxter (Project Coordinator) Sarah is the “blogging guru” of this project, and is contact person/organizer. Born in Athens, Ohio, Sarah enjoys traveling, and has since taken up residence in Los Angeles, NE Thailand, North Africa, and most recently in Taipei, Taiwan.
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