Lithuanian parliament protects anti-gay MPs from prosecution

Published: October 27, 2010

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – The Lithuanian parliament has voted to protect from prosecution two MPs implicated in violence directed towards a gay-pride parade.

In June this year, the country’s prosecutor general requested that the parliament strip Kazimieras Uoka of the centre-right Homeland Union and Christian Democrats, Lithuania’s largest political party, and Petras Gražulis, of the Order and Justice Party, a self-declared liberal party but sharply opposed to gay rights, of their parliamentary immunity after they were accused of violent scuffles with police protecting the pride demonstrators.

Lithuanian anti-gay MPs are to remain immune from prosecution (Photo: wikipedia)

 As MPs in the country have immunity from prosecution, it requires a vote in the Seimas, the country’s parliament to give its assent before any prosecution can proceed against a national deputy.

According to individuals familiar with the case who spoke to EUobserver, in May the two MPs crossed police barriers and disobeyed orders from authorities to remain within a zone allocated to what turned out to be a thousands-strong anti-pride demonstration. At which point the deputies participated in violent scuffles with police and kicked an activist from the Tolerant Youth Association, which had helped organise the event.

The gay rights march, numbering between 300 and 500 people and including several MEPs and government ministers from other EU states, was nevertheless dwarfed by its opponents, say witnesses.

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