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What are the consequences of the ‘Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information’?
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News

2013 01 29
On 23 January 2013 the Lithuanian Gay League (LGL) has submitted a request for the Deputy Director of Administration of Vilnius City Municipality to initiate a new approval procedure with regard to the Baltic Pride March on 27 July 2013. The organization is of the position that the unilateral decision by the municipal authorities to relocate the planned March from the Gediminas Avenue (i.e. central street in the downtown of Vilnius) to the rather isolated and inaccessible area on the riverbank contradicts the Law on Public Meetings and disproportionately inhibits the effective enjoyment of the constitutional rights to the freedom of peaceful assembly and the freedom of expression.
 
The Law on Public Meetings stipulates that the right to choose the location for public assembly belongs to the organizers of the assembly and not to the state or municipal authorities (Article 4). To put in other words, the municipal authorities cannot select another location for the planned assembly on their own motion in case the location, proposed by the organizers, does not contravene the legal provisions. Furthermore, the municipal authorities did not engage in the constructive dialogue, did not effectively take account of the organizer’s position and were wrongfully applying the Law on Public Meetings in the course of the common meeting with the LGL on 15 January 2013.
 
The Supreme Court of Lithuania in its previous judgments has indicated that the right to freely choose location, time, purpose and mode of public assembly constitutes an essential part of the effective exercise of the right to peaceful assembly. In addition to this, the Court has emphasized that “the decisions by public authorities have to be grounded on substantiated factual evidence and not mere assumptions.” Therefore the unsubstantiated claims by the municipal authorities that it would be more difficult to grant the security of the participants of the march on the Gediminas Avenue (i.e. without providing any factual evidence) do not constitute the legitimate basis for relocating the Baltic Pride March.
 
It has to be noted that by organizing the public assembly the LGL seeks to increase the public visibility and social inclusion of the LGBT community in Lithuania and to express the positions and opinions by vulnerable social group publicly. The removal of the public march from the central part of Vilnius contradicts the main purpose of the planned assembly. Therefore the LGL will employ all possible means to ensure the effective exercise of the right to peaceful assembly for LGBT community in Lithuania.
 
The LGL asks the municipal authorities to initiate an approval procedure with regard to the Baltic Pride March anew. In case of refusing this motion, the LGL request to provide factually substantiated explanation, why the location, indicated in the notification on organization of public assembly, was not approved.
 
The municipal authorities have 20 days to respond to the official request.
 
The full  text of request is available here.
e-solution: gaumina