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Riga Pride and Friendship Days are an annual event held in Riga, Latvia in support of raising issues of tolerance and the rights of sexual minorities in society. The main organiser is the Latvian NGO Mozaīka (Mosaic), and it is supported by ILGA-Europe.
Following public manifestations of homophobia surrounding the Riga Pride event in 2005, some members of the LGBT community, their friends, and family members united to found the organisation Mozaīka in an attempt to improve the understanding of, and tolerance for LGBT rights in Latvia.
From 2006, the event has been officially known as "Riga Pride and Friendship Days", expanding the programme include not just a parade, but also an ecumenical church service, and seminars on tolerance and LGBT rights.
Over the years, the event has prompted negative reactions and sometimes threatening protests from some members of society.
In response to the activities of Mozaīka, an umbrella organisation for co-ordinating anti-LGBT rights activism in Latvia, NoPride, was formed in the run-up to Riga Pride and Friendship Days 2006.
Also in 2006, the event sparked controversy when Riga City Council at first tried to refuse permission for the Pride Parade. Similar political debates surrounded the first Pride Parade in 2005.
The LGBT community in Latvia has also been divided in its attitudes to the event. In a February 2007 survey of 537 LGBT persons by the organisation ILGA-Latvija, 82% of respondents said they were not in favour of holding the planned Riga Pride and Friendship Days 2007, while only 7% felt that these events would help promote tolerance against sexual minorities. ILGA-Latvija, however, has since changed its stance and now is positive towards the Riga Pride and Friendship Days.
- ↑ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4708617.stm
- ↑ "Protests disrupt Latvia gay march", bbc.co.uk, 23 July 2005.
- ↑ Mozaīka English-language homepage
- ↑ ILGA-Latvia Survey Working Group, poll conducted 1–28 February 2007. From ILGA-Latvia website (accessed 13 May 2007).
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