Arsonists target Lithuania’s only LGBT rights group in ‘vicious homophobic attack’
The office of the Lithuanian Gay League (LGL) – the country’s only non-governmental organisation representing LGBT+ people – has reportedly been targeted in an arson attack.
The incident allegedly took place in Pylimo in the Old Town of Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, at about 4am on Friday morning.
The front door and door blinds of the organisation’s office were set on fire, according to LGL.
LGL said that a passing taxi driver stopped to put the fire out.
The group described the incident as a “vicious homophobic attack,” adding: “LGL believe that the incident was motivated by hate towards the local LGBT community and organisation which represents their interests.”
“This incident clearly indicates that hate crimes on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity remain an important issue in Lithuania,” said LGL’s executive director Vladimir Simonko in a statement released to PinkNews.
“It is disapointing [sic] to see that such horrific crimes still take place in 2018 in the heart of our beautiful capital Vilnius.
“We would like to kindly thank the taxi driver who took the initiative to extinguish the fire and saved our offices from more major damages. We hope that the true motives of the incident will be duly clarified.”
PinkNews has contacted Vilnius’ police department for comment.
Founded in 1993, the LGL works for the progression of LGBT+ rights for people in the country.
Lithuania has a generally poor record on LGBT+ rights.
Although homosexuality was decriminalised in 1993, civil partnerships and equal marriage remain illegal in the country, and there are widespread socially negative attitudes towards sexuality and gender.
Same-sex adoption is also effectively illegal in the couple as, generally, parents must be married in order to adopt a child.
Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation was made illegal in 2005.
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