As the spring comes around, so does activity by the gay community (LGBT -- lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual, to be accurate) in Latvia, this year in the form of a Baltic Pride planned for Riga on May 16 as part of the annual "Friendship Days". This will bring LGBT activists from Estonia and Lithuania to Latvia for the first joint Baltic action.
No permit has yet been granted for the Pride March, which the Latvian organizers Mozaika wanted to hold in Vermanes Park, a central park surrounded by a fence (the 2007 Pride was held there). Last year it was held on a stretch of shore drive along the Daugava River near the Old Town, yet again under heavy police protection and with hundreds of shouting counter demonstrators.
The former head of the Latvian parliament's Human Rights commission, the reverend Jānis Šmits, has asked the Riga authorities to ban the Pride March in an open letter, published in Latvian on the website of Diena, but translated and republished here on a pan-European gay rights organization's website.
And here is my video commentary on this: