Moscow Gay Pride Ban Not an Issue With Rights Activists

by Tanya Thomas on  May 29, 2010 at 10:38 AM Lifestyle News
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Gay rights activists vowed on Thursday to go ahead with a gay pride demonstration in Moscow this weekend, despite a ban by the city authorities.
 Moscow Gay Pride Ban Not an Issue With Rights Activists
Moscow Gay Pride Ban Not an Issue With Rights Activists

"No illegal decisions by the authorities or court decisions will stop us from holding our demonstration," organiser Nikolai Alexeyev, one of Russia's leading gay rights activists, told reporters.

"We will hold it Saturday May 29 in any circumstances, whether or not there is a court decision in our favour."

Moscow city authorities, led by openly homophobic mayor Yury Luzhkov, have repeatedly refused permission for gay pride parades and previous attempts to stage such events have been thwarted by police.

Luzhkov has called gay pride parades "Satanic" and argued that Russia is not ready for such events.

Activists have asked the authorities for permission to hold a gay pride event in Moscow every year since 2006.

This year they made their fifth attempt, but were again denied. A Moscow court on Thursday upheld the city's ban, Alexeyev said, adding that organisers have lodged an appeal.

The unsanctioned protest will take place in front of the Moscow offices of the European Commission, Alexeyev said.

He accused the EC and ambassadors of Western countries of "hypocrisy" after he said they had refused to host the event on the grounds of one of their embassies, a tactic organisers had attempted to use to circumvent the ban.

International activists flanked Alexeyev at a news conference, including Britain's Peter Tatchell of the Outrage! campaign group and openly gay German lawmaker Volker Beck.

Both Tatchell and Beck were beaten up by anti-gay counter-demonstrators while attending previous gay pride events in Moscow.

Tatchell said he was "still bearing the eye and brain damage" after being beaten in 2007 but vowed to take part in Saturday's protest.

"I am unbowed and defiant," he said. "We will carry on this fight until we win."

Tatchell also called on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to "show leadership" and intervene to cancel the ban.

Beck said he saw the gay pride ban as a "human rights case."

"Every group in the society has the freedom of expression, has the freedom of assembly," he said. "In Moscow, this is totally denied to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people and this is totally unacceptable."

Last year, organisers attempted to hold an unsanctioned demonstration on the day of the Eurovision Song Contest final, held in Moscow. Protesters were swiftly dragged away by riot police in front of journalists.

Source: AFP

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The Russian political elites have in the past used the Russian Church to provide the regime with ideological support. This gives the regime a socially reactionary political character. Now it is trapped between its desire for accommodation/integration with the EU and its support for institutions that are obstacles to this process. Perhaps they should dig up tho old arguments for the separation of Church and State. In any case this problem will not go away. The Russian government signed the relevant international agreements that imply social equality irrespective of sexual orientation. They should either comply or abrogate the agreements.


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