Notes and links:
1) The group that organized events surrounding the Gay Pride Parade, called Mozaika (Mosaic--their site here) has gathered 250 signatures so far and is calling for the resignation of the Minister of the Interior. The Latvian PM has given the Interior Minister 3 days to make a report on what happened during the confrontations, which took place both in front of Hotel Latvia and a church, in which he is to report on who the main people were that "did bad things." The bad things included throwing eggs and feces, and I forgot to mention in the previous post that there were perhaps a thousand or more counter-demonstrators. I don't know how many people were attending the events in the Hotel, as I did not myself go inside
2) A friend, a Latvian-American, said that she went into the Hotel Latvia as one showing her support for the GLBT community. Inside, people were told not to go out the front doors, and that transportation was being arranged out a side door. She, however, felt that she had come to show her support against the counter-demonstrators, and so went out the front door. Though nothing happened to her, she said that she was scared and that her impression was that the police were not doing a very good job of crowd control.
For more information on what happened to others, including to people who were just passing by, you can go to this post at the All About Latvia blog.
3) Some news links. . .it is one site. . .at the very top of the page, are two links with video of events:
A) The one entitled "'LNT ziņas: 23.jūlijs (2006)" has footage and info (in LV) of what happened in front of Hotel Latvia
B) The one entitled "900 sekundes: 24.jūlijs (2006)" has footage and information (in LV) of what happened today, the calls for resignations and demos in front of the ministry of interior.
I don't know how long those links will be up, and you have to go to that page to see them both, I can't provide perma or seperate links to them. . .
4) Then this today, from the Baltic Times: Minister of Interior responds to criticism.
5) Found this today, a statment by Latvia's President Vaira Vike-Freiberga.
Though she has her critics, she is a strong president who knows how to use her powers, limited to a largely symbolic function, to maximum effect. She is in general beloved of Latvians and in general disliked by those Russians who disagree with Latvia's strong language laws and attempts to beat a fiercely independent path from Moscow.
6) Another article here.
7) Article about last year's events, with damning comments from the PM:
Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis had opposed the event, saying Riga should "not promote things like that".
"For sexual minorities to parade in the very heart of Riga, next to the Doma church, is unacceptable," he told LNT television on Wednesday.
8) My closing thoughts from my post after last year's Gay Pride in Riga:
I was sitting in a cafe in Riga, in a location of a restaurant chain called Lido that serves traditional Latvian food (there are similar chains in Ukraine, serving Ukrainian food, of course), and I looked out the window to notice a tall, very muscular black man wearing a very tight black dress that came down only to mid thigh level, and who was wearing knee-high leather boots with stilleto heels. I was amazed. Ok, in the US one might be able to spot such bold display of one's sexuality, but here in Riga! And also given that he was a black man in a country where nonwhites are but a decimal point of the population, one can guess that he was quite a sight. At the time, I had no idea how to read him and his display of sexuality but for to think, "Right on man, be proud!" But I could not believe the risk he was taking. He just strutted--and he strutted--up and down the street looking intently at each person who passed by. I therefore wondered about his eagerness most of the day, until later I learned about this whole anti-gay uproar. That fellow is just as courageous as any of the Latvians who boldly stood out to proclaim their right to be Latvian against the Soviet government. Or to put it another way, in light of last week's anti-gay fervor, walking down that street in that dress was just as bold and courageous (and potentially dangerous) for that man as it was for any Latvian to have walked the streets wrapped in the (red-white-red) national flag in the early days of perestroika and of open resistane to the Soviet regime. Thus, I truly, truly hope that neither he nor anyone else like him becomes martyred as did the many Latvians who bravely struggled against the Soviet regime for one thing: the right to be who they are
9) And one more thing: It is true that the vast majority of the counter-demonstrators spoke Russian. You can make your own heads or tails of this--but I will voice in here to say that I think it is quite evident that the leadership of the Russian community of this country is leading its members into much darker areas of the human spirit than the leadership of the Latvian and other non-Latvian communities are leading their members . . .Not, of course, to say any one community is free of prejudice and intolerance of any kind.