The offices of a Lithuanian LGBTQ rights group were set on fire Friday morning.
An unknown arsonist doused the Lithuania Gay League office’s front door with an unknown flammable substance and set it alight at around 4am. A taxi driver noticed the flames and put them out with a fire extinguisher. Police are investigating the incident as an act of vandalism.
Today at about 4 a.m, there was an attack to burn the entrance of our office. The police investigation is underway to determine about possible homophobic & hate crimes motives related to LGL and LGBT community in Lithuania.
️ Together we stand proud and strong ️ pic.twitter.com/TdQJxEneip
— LithuanianGayLeague (@LGLLithuania) August 10, 2018
LGL communications coordinator Eglė Kuktoraitė said she hoped police would “recognize that this is obviously a hate crime.”
“We have rainbow flags on our windows. We have a rainbow crosswalk by our office. It definitely wasn’t random,” she added.
A police spokesperson confirmed he was not familiar with the concept of hate crimes, reports Gay Star News.
“This incident clearly indicates that hate crimes on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity remain an important issue in Lithuania,” said Vladimir Simonko (pictured above), executive director of LGL.
“It is disappointing to see that such horrific crimes still take place in 2018 in the heart of our beautiful capital Vilnius.”
“The police’s reluctance to recognize the crime of hatred is proof of its unprofessional nature,” LGL program manager Eduardas Platov told lrytas.lt.
Platov added that the incident should remove the “illusions that we live in a tolerant society.”
Marriage equality has still not come to the country, and a 2016 study from equal rights organization ILGA-Europe named it one of the three worst places to be LGBTQ in the European Union.