No Love For the Haters

Turns out that Vilnius Major Juozas Imbrasas may have actually been protecting homosexuals when she quashed Vilnius' first-ever attempt at any sort of public gay rights event, claiming her fear that it might spark violence in the city. Still, her unprecedented refusal to admit the EU's tolerance mobile (bearing the slogan, "For Diversity, Against Discrimination") within the city seems unwarranted for should something have happened, it only would have forced the hand of the EU to be more involved in the situation, rather than idly allowing the Lithuanian government to continue it's policy of sexual discrimination. Since symbolically slashing the tyres of the Tolerance Mobile, Vilnius has seen no reprimand from the EU; hardly even a stern talking-to or disapproving look.

Regardless, Lithuanian police have opened two criminal investigations this week into hate messages advocating violence against gays in the Lithuanian capital. A spate of anti-gay posters and leaflets have appeared throughout Vilnius in recent weeks. It is unclear whether they are connected to a Lithuanian website propagating a message of hate and calling on people to kill and beat homosexuals. The website, written in Lithuanian, is called "Stop the Rainbow Colours;" its url address has not been supplied by police. Lithuanian investigators are naively hopeful that the website may originate from outside LT and only be hosted in Lithuania. The posters and fliers seen throughout Vilnius warn gays to "stay in the closet or face the consequences." Under Lithuanian law it is a crime to instigate violence against minority groups, the maximum penalty being three years in prison.

On the upside, earlier this week the avidly androgynous rock band Placebo played a show in Vilnius where bassist Stefan Olsdal and singer Brian Malko locked lips "for gay rights in Vilnius." Guess they didn't get the message...


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