People attend the Baltic Pride parade in downtown Riga, Latvia, on June 9, 2018. Around 8,000 people gathered in a park in downtown Riga on Saturday to march in the Baltic Pride 2018 parade, an annual LGBT rights event each Baltic capital takes turn to host in summer. (Xinhua/Janis)
RIGA, June 9 (Xinhua) -- Around 8,000 people gathered in a park in downtown Riga on Saturday to march in the Baltic Pride 2018 parade, an annual LGBT rights event each Baltic capital takes turn to host in summer.
The colorful parade in which lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people were joined by their relatives and supporters was the climax of a series of events, including conferences, film programs and various art events that took place in the Latvian capital this week to highlight LGBT-related rights issues in Latvia, the Baltics and the whole European Union, as well as to celebrate diversity, informed Mozaika, Latvia's LGBT rights group which organized the event.
The motto of this year's Baltic Pride was See Diversity! See Freedom!
Participants of the parade in Riga included people of various ages, and some marchers were dressed in fancy outfits, for example, one participant had arrived to the pride parade in a unicorn costume. Many participants were waving rainbow flags, the international symbol of the LGBT community, as well as the national flags of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
There were also guests from the UK, Germany, Denmark and other countries among participants of the Baltic Pride 2018. Also marching for LGBT rights were representatives of the recently founded political bloc For Development/For, the youth section of Latvia's ruling center-right Unity party and Satori online culture magazine.
The parade was watched by large crowds of onlookers and monitored by police.
Police spokeswoman Sigita Pildava said after the parade that the event, which in Latvia is always met by mixed public response, passed peacefully and that only one man was detained for hurling a smoke bomb at the marchers.
There were also a few dozen protesters around, whistling and making other loud noises as the parade began to demonstrate their discontent with what in their view was propaganda of immorality.
After the parade, its participants returned to Vermane Park for a concert that closed the Baltic Pride week in Riga.
The previous Baltic Pride in the Latvian capital drew 5,000 participants.