WARSAW, Poland – Hundreds of gays, lesbians and their supporters marched Saturday through the capitals of Poland and Latvia, demanding more rights in Eastern European societies where they still face high levels of intolerance.

The parades were supported by the governments of the U.S. and other Western countries who are pushing for an end to discrimination and violence toward gays.

Homosexuality was a taboo throughout the communist era and that hostility lingers today, despite a growing sense of openness in the region since several of its countries joined the European Union in 2004.

About 2,500 people turned out in Warsaw while some 400 braved rain and hail in Riga.