Police in the Lithuanian capital have opened an investigation after several people were filmed painting over a rainbow-colored passage.
The incident took place on May 31. In a video posted to Facebook, four people can be seen spray painting the crossing in rainbow colors and disrupting traffic.
Lithuanian MP Tomas Raskevičius shared the video, writing: “These people are terrorists in plain sight”.
Vilnius police confirmed to Euronews that they “initiated two administrative proceedings for minor breach of public order”.
“While the investigation is ongoing, we cannot comment further on its details,” they added.
Contacted by Euronews, the town hall said it would repaint the rainbow in the same area.
“We will charge the people who painted it black. Vilnius loves everyone and supports everyone,” they said in a statement.
The incident came just a day before the start of Pride Month, celebrated around the world throughout June, and days after a bill to legalize same-sex partnerships in the small country Baltic Sea failed to overcome its first parliamentary hurdle.
The bill, which aims to grant LBGT + couples access to certain benefits, including joint ownership of property and inheritance rights, has sparked protests with thousands taking part in a “Great Family Defense March” in Vilnius at the beginning of the month.
According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association (ILGA), the latest incident in Vilnius is part of a pattern of “increased hostility and hatred we are witnessing across Europe”.
“Fifty-five percent of Lithuanian LGBTI respondents have experienced discrimination in the past 12 months, the highest rate in the EU, according to the Fundamental Rights Agency’s 2020 survey. In our review annually, we also reported cases of bias-motivated speech. and language last year, “ILGA Advocacy Director Katrin Hugendube told Euronews.
“The authorities in Lithuania and elsewhere must remain strong and protect LGBTI people from hatred. We hope that the rainbow will be painted soon and the authorities in Vilnius will prevent this act of violence from happening again,” he said. she added.