Tallinn Pride Prevails

Tallinn's fourth annual gay pride parade took place this weekend in the Estonian capital, passing peacefully without any of the violence that marred last year's event. About 250 people participated in the march which began around 15:00, winding its way from Sauna street through the historic district and dispersing after about an hour.

As a result of last year's incidents (when about two dozen skinheads attacked parade participants with sticks and stones injuring several), and the general disapproval of Tallinn authorities - particularly police - parade organisers were forced to hire their own security for the event in order to ensure the safety of those participating. In fact, earlier this month, police attempted to alter the parade route, claiming the parade through Tallinn's downtown would infringe upon the rights of other residents to go about their business. After an emphatic outcry from activists, however, the route was approved and proceedings allowed to go forward.

About midway through this year's parade, an alternative procession of mostly Russian-speaking men, women and children chanting "No Pride" followed the gay-rights marchers, however no violence was reported. Nonetheless, the event fell short of the 400 participants it anticipated, probably due to the memories of last year and this year's feud with city police officials.

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