05/06/2012 | Writer: Heber Tito Galvez

On June 2nd, hundreds of LGBT individuals and their supporters marched in the capital cities of Poland and Latvia, to demand more rights and acceptance in an Eastern Europe that is still ridden by intolerance towards this community.

Pride marches held in Poland and Latvia Kaos GL - News Portal for LGBTI+
On June 2nd, hundreds of LGBT individuals and their supporters marched in the capital cities of Poland and Latvia, to demand more rights and acceptance in an Eastern Europe that is still ridden by intolerance towards this community.
 
The march in Warsaw had an attendance of about 2500 people, while its counterpart in Riga accounted for almost 400 attendees. The events required a strong security presence due to previous years violent clashes between supporters and opponents.
 
In Riga, under direct instructions from the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, diplomatic personnel participated in the march as a way of showing their support. This was part of a broader U.S. policy where American officials have been asked to be more active in promoting equal rights for LGBT people throughout the world.
 
In Warsaw, the event was also an opportunity to celebrate the election of the first transsexual into parliament last year. Moreover, the march also included a group of about 20 people from neighboring Belarus in preparation for their own pride to be held in October. They carried a banner that read: “It’s better to be gay than a dictator”, in response to a comment made by their autocratic President -Alexander Lukashenko- early this year. 
 
Although many countries from the region officially joined the EU in 2004, hostility towards the queer community still endures, due to religious perceptions and a legacy from the restrictive communist era.

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