■ Igors Maslakovs, chair of "Stop
Pride", who has written to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
RIGA, March 11, 2007 – A letter
of protest has been sent to British Prime Minister Tony Blair by the Latvian
“No Pride” group, which organised the protest against Riga Gay Pride last
year when demonstrators threw excrement at Pride participants.
Signed by Igors Maslakovs, the
group’s chair, the letter accuses the United Kingdom of “interfering with
Latvia’s internal politics”.
The government, the Mayor of
London, and the UK Parliament, along with the Europe-wide ILGA-Europe NGO,
are asked to “respect the views of the Latvian society” and their rights to
self-determination and sovereignty.
“Propagating and supporting radical
foreign groups with totalitarian characteristics you shamelessly breach the
choice of citizens of the sovereign state of Latvia’s to live in free ad
democratic nation. All such activities are criminally punishable in Latvia,”
he writes in the “open letter” to Mr. Blair.
The letter comes as the gay prides
of Riga and Latvia signed a ‘pact of cooperation’ on Thursday.
Also last week the former NFL
player Ken Hutcherson (Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Chargers and Seattle
Seahawks) joined fellow American anti-gay human rights activist Scott Lively
at a conference in Riga organised by Janis Vanags, Archbishop of the Latvian Evangelical
Lutheran Church, where leaders and representatives of all main denominations
of Latvia met at the Consistory.
Janis Smits, chairman of the
Parliamentary Human Rights and Social Affairs Committee, Talivaldis Talbergs,
president of the Latvian Christian radio, Inta Feldmane, MP, and Aina Krukle,
representative of the Riga City Council and others also participated in this
According to the website
NewGeneration.lv (in Russian), “The US guests did not need introduction –
their human rights and anti-gay movement activities widely known in Latvia”.
“It is a huge honour for me to be
in such a company,” NewGeneration reported Mr. Hutcherson as telling the
“I will try to be useful in
resolving the problems which we all care about. Homosexual pressure is
experienced today by many countries. Where the danger was not identified
timely and the destructing forces of homosexuality were not evaluated
timely, we see how homosexuality is spreading widely and becoming legal.
“There many countries on the world
today where same-sex marriages are legalised, where same-sex adoption in
possible, where education of a new generation is based on sexual diversity
and family transformation. We need to talk today about the fact that the
people simple overlook how homosexuality step by step forcefully taking
space,” Mr. Hutcherson is quoted as saying.
[Ken Hutcherson, who now runs the Antioch Bible Church
in Seattle, persuaded Microsoft two years ago to withdraw its support for a
Bill that would have made it illegal to discriminate on grounds of sexual
orientation. He threatened to organise a boycott of Microsoft
software; the Bill failed to pass by one vote.]
Full text of the open letter sent
to the British Prime Minister by “No Pride”:
Protest against interfering with
Latvia’s internal politics
On behalf of the organisation “No
Pride” I am expressing protest to the UK parliament, Ken Livingstone, Mayor
of London, for interfering with the Latvia’s internal politics, propagating
and supporting foreign radical groups with totalitarian characteristics and
therefore breaching constitution of a sovereign state of Latvia and the
choice of their citizens to live in a free and democratic country.
Each nation’s citizens have a right
to choice a way their country develops and it is unacceptable that civil
servants of the United Kingdom interfere with the Latvia’s internal affairs.
We consider unacceptable London Mayor Ken Livingstone’s alongside
organisation ILGA Europe actions supporting and escalating the conflict in
the Latvian society between traditional values and supporters of
homosexuals’ rights, by stating their support for Riga Pride 2007.
We ask Ken Livingstone, Mayor of
London, ILGA Europe, LGTB people to respect the views of the Latvian society
and their rights to self-determination and sovereignty. Propagating and
supporting radical foreign groups with totalitarian characteristics you
shamelessly breach the choice of citizens of the sovereign state of Latvia’s
to live in free ad democratic nation. All such activities are criminally
punishable in Latvia.
Article 99 of the Latvian
constitution Charter VIII “Human Rights” guarantees us, the citizens of this
“Everyone has the right to freedom
of thought, conscience and religion.”
And Article 100:
Everyone has the right to freedom
of expression which includes the right to freely receive, keep and
distribute information and to express their views. Censorship is prohibited.
I also want to draw your attention
that Charter I Article 2:
“The sovereign power of the State
of Latvia is vested in the people of Latvia.”
We ask you to respect the choice of
the Latvian people, family tradition, religious believe, views and not to
try to impose again yet another totalitarian regime.
Latvian people have expressed their
views by adopting changes to Article 110 of the constitution:
“The State shall protect and
support marriage – union between a man and a woman, the family, the rights
of parents and rights of the child. The State shall provide special support
to disabled children, children left without parental care or who have
suffered from violence.”
Latvian people are very tolerant
towards people of any race, nationality, but are not tolerant towards
foreign threats and aggression. Just few years ago at the barricades the
Latvian people fought for their freedom and paid with blood, these events
are still in our memories, is therefore necessary to create a situation to
repeat such events in our country?
We express our disappointment,
shock and protest again the fact that the United Kingdom has departed from
the democratic ideals and slipped into totalitarianism. The United Kingdom
has already shamelessly breached human rights in regards to the censorship,
freedom of religion, speech and conscience.
Organisation “No Pride”
Posted: 12 March 2007 at
13:00 (UK time)