Lithuanian MP slammed for saying gay group would face Charlie Hebdo style massacre

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Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have condemned comments by a Lithuanian MP who warned a gay group that they may face a massacre similar to events which recently took place at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Algirdas Vaclovas Patackas, a Lithuanian MP, on Sunday warned that the Lithuanian Gay League’s (LGL) “provocation”, meant the group was “playing with fire”, and that it would result in “dead bodies”.

The LGL’s head Vladimir Simonko, said the organisation could give out the now obsolete 10-litas notes as an LGBT souvenir.

Patackas said: “For black, repulsive and totally unacceptable challenge-provocation you might face no less than black, repulsive and totally unacceptable response.

“Because in Lithuania, as in every land which calls itself Christian, not everyone turns the left cheek; there are many, who believe in the principle “an eye for an eye”, i.e., the main cause of what has happened in Paris.”

Homophobia and (political) hate speech in Lithuania are a large problem. The LGBT Survey of 2013 by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency shows that 87% of the respondents in Lithuania indicate that expressions of hatred and aversion towards LGBT people in public are widespread.

Daniele Viotti MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup, said: “The remarks by Mr Patackas are very dangerous, and might even breach Lithuania’s own laws against hate speech. Politicians should know better than to make derogatory and hateful comments.”

“It is time for both national and international leaders to voice loud and clearly that in a European Lithuania of the 21st century there is no place for such homophobic statements.”

Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP added: “In the summer of 2013 we celebrated a wonderful Pride in Vilnius, with great support of the police forces and local authorities, in a great atmosphere. I want to cherish this sunny, tolerant, festive image of Vilnius, city that hosted the wonderful event organised by Vladimir Simonko.”

“The hate speech of Mr Patackas is an ugly blot on the positive image of the country. Mr Patackas’ threats are not only threats against Mr Simonko, but threats against fundamental rights, threats against European values, threats against the image of Lithuania. We express our full support for Mr Simonko.”