Riga, Jun 29 (EFE).- Organizers of the first LGBTQI Pride march in the Lithuanian city of Kaunas are suing the municipality for refusing to issue a permit for the event, which is planned for September 4.
The trade union that is organizing the event had proposed three alternative routes on major streets of Kaunas for the march, but all were rejected because of potential traffic disruptions or streets too narrow for the expected number of marchers, they told Lithuanian TV.
The refusal is unreasonable and discriminatory, they said, deeming the municipality’s reasoning “hostile” to the freedom of assembly, considering a number of other public events have been held at the city centre,
The Kaunas city authorities rejected the event on the basis of ongoing infrastructure renovation works and the “disproportionate inconvenience” the march would bring to local residents.
Pride marches have been held in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, often met with counter-protests by opponents of the LGBTQI rights movement in the conservative, majority Catholic country.
The Lithuanian Parliament in late May rejected a gender neutral civil partnership law that would have included same sex couples.
Lithuanian president Gitanas Nauseda declined to sign a letter by 17 European Union leaders vowing to fight for LGBTQI rights in the continent and indirectly targeting Hungary’s anti-LGBT law banning depictions of LGBTQI issues in schools or kids’ TV.
Lithuania’s Deputy Foreign Minister Arnoldas Pranckevicius was the one to sign in representation of his country, while Latvia’s Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins and Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas supported the letter.
The city of Kaunas is the second largest in Lithuania after the capital Vilnius and was the de facto capital city of Lithuania during the interwar period, when Vilnius was part of Poland. EFE