A German MEP who addressed an anti-LGBTQ+ rally in Lithuania is from “a circle of Putin’s friends”, MEP Rasa Juknevičienė said on Facebook on Sunday.
Bernhard Zimniok, an MEP from the right-wing populist party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), addressed the rally on Saturday in a pre-recorded speech that was broadcasted after the address by Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda.
"I will remind [you] that the president of the Lithuanian Republic spoke yesterday in the company of this character," Juknevičienė posted on Facebook on Sunday.
Among other issues, Zimniok spoke out against immigration "genderist propaganda" and the European Union.
According to Juknevičienė, Zimniok is part of a eurosceptic group in the European Parliament, which advocates for the lifting of EU's sanctions on Russia.
In one of the five examples listed by Juknevičiene, Zimnio voted against an April 29 resolution on Russia, Alexei Navalny, Russian troop buildup near Ukraine and the attack by Russia's secret services in the Czech Republic.
He has also abstained in resolutions on the violent crackdown against protesters in Belarus and Russia’s persecution of Lithuanian judges involved in the January 13 case.
“His party advocates for the lifting of Russia sanctions [and] AfD representatives at the European Parliament are part of the far-right eurosceptic political group,” Juknevičiene posted, adding that the group includes the party of France's Marine Le Pen.
“Its representativesvisit occupied Crimea and Donbass,” according to Juknevičienė.
March against ‘genderist propaganda’
The Big Family Defence March (Didysis šeimos gynimo maršas) on Saturday attracted up to 10,000 people, according to the preliminary figures by the Lithuanian police.
Among speakers calling for the government to resign, the event was mostly presented as a political rally in protest of policies and legislation that allegedly threaten the institution of traditional family. It also comes on the heels of the attempts to ratify the so-called Istanbul Convention, as well as to pass a partnership bill in the Lithuanian parliament.
The Lithuanian president addressed the rally in a pre-recorded speech where he expressed support for traditional families.
Nausėda said that a family is between a man and a woman, as stated in the Lithuanian constitution. “As a president of the Lithuanian Republic, I will use my powers to make sure it is so,” he said.