Banning Gay Pride march was illegal, Supreme Court rules

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Latvian authorities have ruled that a ban on a Gay Pride march in 2006 was illegal.

The event was was banned amid threats of violence from extremist groups.

The municipal authorities in the Latvian capital Riga were told that the event would be cancelled to avoid public disorder after Christians, nationalists and neo-Nazis threatened the parade with violence and a counter march.

Riga City Council appealed a decision earlier this year by the Administrative Court that the ban was unlawful, but the Supreme Court has now confirmed the ruling.

Mozaika, the Easter European countries LGBT organisation, has said that a decision to appeal by the City Council has set an important precedent for Latvia’s court systems and on any similar future rulings.

As the country is now part of the EU it is bound by Human Rights Conventions allowing for the right of assembly and to “demonstrate” on issues.

Although the pride festival was allowed to go ahead this year it was confined to a park in the centre of the capital with a limited march.

MEP Raül Romeva, vice president of the European Parliament’s ‘Intergroup’ for gay and lesbian rights, said at the time: “It is a good start.”

“Perhaps in the future Riga Pride will be through the streets of the city.”