Police in the Latvian capital of Riga announced today that they have arrested 14 people in connection with Saturday's violent attack on gay and lesbian people who attended a service at the Anglican Church in Riga as part of the Friendship Days festival held last week. National Police spokeswoman Sintija Kajina told the Baltic News Service that 13 of the detainees face administrative charges, while a criminal proceeding will be started against one person who was detained. The charges stem from an attack on gay and lesbian people who attended a service at the Anglican Church in Riga as part of the Friendship Days festival held last week.
Hundreds of skinheads, members of the extreme nationalist group ANSS and members of the Orthodox Church threw tomatoes, eggs and excrement at people entering the church service. Later, they threw eggs and splashed water on a taxi in which Swedish participants of the Latvian gay festival were traveling to the airport. The taxi was chased on its way to the airport, and attempts were made to push it off the road.
Nicolas Alexeyev of GayRussia.ru in an e-mail messege reported on by ZNet said.
"Today, Latvia does not show the face of a modern and democratic country. Instead, Riga is showing the face of homophobic facism, threatening its citizens and their guests, including members of the European Parliament."
"One of those assaulted was the openly gay pastor Rev Maris Sants. The police refused him protection as he went to his car, where he was attacked."
"People attending the press conference had to be rushed out into waiting vans to be ferried away from the baying homophobic crowd," said eye-witness Peter Tatchell of the British gay rights group OutRage.
Dutch European parliamentarian Sophie Int'Veld, who took part in the service, said, "I had the dubious pleasure to see again today with my own eyes how people can be driven by hatred and fear."
The Pride March planned for Saturday in Riga was banned last Wednesday by the Riga City Council, a ban upheld on Friday by a Latvian court.
The following article is from Pink News (UK).
Gay activists targeted at Riga Pride
Gay campaigners were attacked with eggs and bags of excrement and left feeling under siege by protesters last weekend as they aimed to quietly celebrate Riga Pride.
Authorities in the Latvian capital had banned the gay parade on public order grounds, but activists including Outrage’s Peter Tatchell and GayRussia’s Nikolai Alexeyev decided to continue with smaller activities.
Mr Alexeyev, who was arrested at last May’s Moscow Gay Pride, said: “It is astonishing. It’s worse than Moscow. There is total chaos here. The police seem very weak and disorganised. The fascists are able to act at will. And Latvia is in the European Union.
“The police presence outside the Reval Latvia Hotel, where a press conference and alternative event to the banned Pride march is being staged, is symbolic. Small and inadequate. We are under siege by a mob of some 70 fascists."
Mr Tatchell said: “People attending the press conference had to be rushed out into waiting vans to be ferried away from the baying homophobic crowd.
“Earlier today, the church service held in support of Riga Gay Pride was attacked by a dozen neo-Nazis. Worshippers were pelted with sh*t and rotten fruit.
“Despite previously requesting police protection, no police were present to protect the congregation. Dutch MEP Sophie In’t Veld was one of the worshippers prevented from leaving the church by the homophobic vigilantes.
“The inaction of the Latvian police is scandalous. They seem to be doing the absolute minimum.”
The municipal authorities in Riga were told that the event would be cancelled to avoid public disorder after Christians, nationalists and neo-Nazis threatened the parade with violence and a counter march.
Recent pride marches in Moscow, Bucharest and Warsaw have also been met with protest from similar groups.
Last month, the European Union passed a resolution to combat homophobia on the continent.