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    Gay parade will not go ahead

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    RIGA, July 20 (RIA Novosti, Yuri Guralnik) - The authorities have cancelled the gay parade, the Riga city council said.

    Erik Shkapars, the executive director of Riga City, the capital of Latvia, withdrew his permission to hold a gay parade, Riga Pride 2005, after Latvian Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis criticized the event. Kalvitis said that holding a gay procession near the Riga Dom Cathedral (a 13th century cathedral in downtown Riga) was absolutely inadmissible because Latvia was a country of traditional Christian values. Kalvitis also said that the parade would need tight security, which the state would have to pay for.

    Representatives of almost all of the political parties in the Latvian parliament and various religious confessions had previously severely criticized the decision to hold a gay parade in Riga.

    Gay and lesbian communities from the Baltic states, Scandinavia and Russia had planned to parade in Riga on July 23.

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