Nationalist politicians disturbed by Rīga rainbow flags

Take note – story published 1 year ago

The right-of-center National Alliance (NA) political grouping, which is one of three parties currently in the ruling government coalition – on May 2 objected to the sight of rainbow flags on municipal buildings in Rīga. 

A tweet from NA's official account said: "Riga City Council members call for the immediate removal of the LGBT community flag from the City Council building. Mayor Mārtiņš Staķis has acted arbitrarily and undemocratically, without consultation in the coalition or the council of factions - there is no single party in the majority in the Riga City Council."

The deputy chairman of the Riga City Council, Edvards Ratnieks (NA), said in a statement to the media that the members of the National Alliance/Latvian Regional Alliance faction of the Riga City Council do not understand why the LGBT flag is hung next to the official flags of the city council. "There are usually only flags of particular importance - of Latvia, the city of Riga, the European Union and Ukraine," he pointed out.

For his part, Mayor Staķis said via a spokesman he had no intention of pulling down the colorful adornment to the City Hall facade.

The representative of the mayor of Riga, Aleksis Zoldners, told the portal that the hanging of the flag of the LGBT community at the Riga City Council building is Staķis's decision, which the mayor of Riga is not going to change.

"Hanging the LGBTQ+ flag at the Riga City Council building is my order in solidarity with the citizens of Latvia, who will go on a pride march tomorrow to stand up for human rights, against violence and discrimination," Zoldners said.

It's not the first time Staķis has made headlines due to the flying of an unofficial flag. Back in 2021 he gained widespread but not quite universal praise for replacing the official flag of Belarus with the historic banner preferred by the pro-democracy movement during the Ice Hockey World Championship in Rīga. On that occasion there was no objection from the National Alliance.  

Meawhile, several embassies in the Latvian capital have been drawing attention to the fact that they have rainbow flags as well as national flags flying and their support for Rīga Pride.


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