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Protesters try to disrupt Lithuania gay pride

BY VYTAUTAS VALENTINAVICIUS, ASSOCIATED PRESS

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- A group of protesters tried to disrupt Lithuania's second gay pride parade ever on Saturday, defying an enormous police presence by throwing eggs at marchers and attempting to storm a stage.

Several hundred gay rights activists took to the grand main street of Vilnius to show their pride, waving Lithuanian and rainbow-colored flags, with some standing on top of buses decked out in colorful balloons.

They were met by hundreds of unruly protesters, 28 of whom were detained, police said. Among them was Petras Grazulis, an anti-gay lawmaker who rallied protesters with a bullhorn. He was thrown face-down on the ground and carried off in handcuffs by police, though the lawmaker soon reappeared at the protest after being released from police custody.

About 50 protesters tried to storm a concert stage where activists were to speak, but police forced them off. Protesters also threw eggs, hitting Lithuanian lawmaker Giedre Purvaneckiene and Sweden's European Union Affairs Minister Birgitta Ohlsson, who were standing at the front of the parade along with other dignitaries.

"It shows that we need to march until eggs aren't thrown anymore and people can march freely and without fear," said Purvaneckiene, who was not injured.

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