Lithuania's First Gay Pride March: Violence and Arrests
In the Lithuanian capitol of Vilnius, police fired tear gas and arrested at least a dozen people as the first gay pride march sparked violent protest
Holding rainbow flags and dancing to music, hundreds paraded along a road near the city of Vilnius, the nation's capitol, along the Neris river.
The event had been banned due to security concerns, but that ban was criticised by President Grvbauskaite and some European governments, and was overturned last night.
'A First Step towards tolerance'
Over 1,000 protesters were kept away by hundreds of police officers, some on horses, who provided security. Some protesters carried crosses and signs, while some hurled angry insults at the gay pride parade marchers.
Marchers included many foreigners, diplomats and members of the European Parliament.
One of the organisers, Vytautas Valentinavicius, told the AFP news agency: "We've made a decisive step towards greater tolerance."
Lithuania , which became an EU member in 2004, is a majority Roman Catholic country where homosexuality is still viewed as taboo by many of its inhabitants.
ABC News in Australia reports that overnight, there was an attempt to firebomb one of the organizer's offices.