28 arrested after protesters throw eggs at Baltic Pride

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A group of protesters defied the large police presence at the Baltic Pride march in the Lithuanian capital, throwing eggs at participants and attempting to storm a stage.

Around 600 people marched for LGBT Pride through the streets of Vilnius today. It was only the second time the event, known as March for Equality, had taken place in the country.

They were met by hundreds of protesters, 50 of whom were held off by police when they tried to storm the stage where activists were speaking.

Among the protesters was former politician Peter Grazulis, known for his homophobic outbursts. Mr Grazulis lead the opponents with a bullhorn, but was thrown to the ground, handcuffed, and taken into police custody. He was released shortly after and promptly rejoined the protests.

Last year Mr Grazulis disrupted an International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia press conference, asking: “How are homosexuals better than necrophiliacs or paedophiles?”

Eggs were thrown at marchers, hitting Lithuanian politician Giedre Purvaneckiene and Sweden’s European Union Affairs Minister, Birgitta Ohlsson.

“It shows that we need to march until eggs aren’t thrown anymore and people can march freely and without fear,” said Ms Purvaneckiene.

Amnesty International Denmark tweeted: “A lot of of angry protesters showed up to shout and throw bottles and eggs, but the Baltic Pride was still a big success.”

Police said 28 people were arrested and one officer was injured.

The first Pride parade in Lithuania took place in Vilnius in 2010 – although attempts were made by opponents to ban it with anti-LGBT legislation.

The march only took place after the Supreme Court ruled twice that it should be held.

Municipal authorities had previously put the event in jeopardy by declaring it could not be held in the city centre, and failing to provide an alternative route for the parade.