The Municipality of Kaunas has appealed an earlier court decision obliging the city to arrange a permit for an LGBTQ+ march scheduled for next week. The organisers expect a ruling in time for the event to take place.
The city previously refused to approve a route for Kaunas Pride along the main street, saying the event would disturb traffic and local businesses. The organisers sued the city and the court ruled on July 30 in their favour.
Kaunas Municipality had 30 days to appeal the decision and did so days before the deadline and a little over a week until the pride march, planned for September 4.
In the appeal, the municipality claims that parts of Laisvės Avenue, the intended venue of the march, are still under repair and that the street is generally unsuited for big events.
“With a big number of people, there is the danger of failing to ensure public order, the safety of other people and property, there is also a chance of traffic jams and there may not be a possibility to carry out evacuation,” the city argues in the appeal.
Moreover, it says that the lower court could not have obliged the city to allow an event in a particular venue.
Kaunas Pride organisers, the May 1 Trade Union (G1PS), say they were expecting the move.
“Kaunas City Municipality is behaving pathetically,” Viktorija Kolbešnikova, one of the organisers, commented to LRT.lt. “Especially now, with all the ‘family marches’ and intensifying hate toward LGBT people [...]. The municipality's reaction only shows its regard for the city's most vulnerable people and which side it is on.”
According to her, there is a judicial precedent for the case, when a court heard an appeal over Baltic Pride and ruled within a day that Vilnius had to allow the event on the city's main street.
“If we have to, we will use all possible measures for the voice of LGBT people to be heard on September 4,” Kolbešnikova said.