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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 July, 2005, 19:19 GMT 20:19 UK
Protests disrupt Latvia gay march
Crowds gather at a gay festival in London
Gay parades are often festive events
Latvian police have arrested protesters after they shouted insults and threw eggs at people taking part in the Baltic state's first gay pride march.

The few dozen marchers were outnumbered by hundreds of protesters who blocked the narrow streets of the capital.

Police were forced to alter the march route and to form a chain around the parade participants to protect them.

The march had sparked outrage in Latvia and only went ahead after a court overturned a council ban on the event.

Officials said that six of the protesters had been detained for their part in disrupting the march.

Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis had opposed the event, saying Riga should "not promote things like that".

"For sexual minorities to parade in the very heart of Riga, next to the Doma church, is unacceptable," he told LNT television on Wednesday.

One of those who took part in Saturday's march, 61-year-old Lars-Peter Sjouberg, from Sweden, said he had been shocked by the offensive remarks made by protesters.

"Protesters here were really aggressive [...] but it won't stop me from helping my Latvian friends fight for their rights."




SEE ALSO:
Latvia gay pride given go-ahead
22 Jul 05 |  Europe
Music fans attend gay pride day
17 Jul 05 |  Oxfordshire
In Pictures: Gay Pride
02 Jul 05 |  In Pictures
Eastern gays seek Berlin refuge
02 May 03 |  Europe
Country profile: Latvia
20 Jul 05 |  Country profiles


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