UK/RUSSIA

European Union Must Impose Travel Ban on Moscow Mayor of Gay Pride Trouble – Greens

 

Russia is not a democracy, says Tatchell
 

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■ The unknown assailant about to punch Peter Tatchell in Moscow during Gay Pride.

 
 

LONDON, May 29, 2007  –  The British Green Party has today called for a European Union travel ban on the Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, following violence in the streets of the capital on Sunday during Gay Pride – and heavy-handed police tactics which saw many arrests.

They condemn Moscow police, and the OMON riot police, for “arresting peaceful gay and lesbian rights activists, and standing by while those activists were attacked by extremist thugs opposite City Hall”.

Activists, including European lawmakers, senior foreign human rights officials and celebrities, attempted to submit a letter, signed by around 50 MEPs, protesting against Mayor Luzhkov’s renewed ban of the Moscow Gay Pride Parade.

Green Party principal speaker Dr. Derek Wall said in a statement:  “This type of police action simply confirms that human rights are not respected in President Putin’s Russia.

“Russia, as a member of the Council of Europe and a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, has a responsibility to allow its citizens the right to peaceful protest.”

He said that European democracies must do everything they can to ensure that “Russia does not shirk that responsibility”.

“In this case, EU countries should impose a travel ban on Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, just as they did on Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko because of his appalling human right record.

“The EU is a force for anti-discrimination, and Green MEPs have been at the forefront of promoting new policies to ensure equal employment and partnership rights across the EU.

“The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population deserves political allies who will work with us to benefit our community.

“The Green Party will keep on campaigning for a Europe that we can be proud of, where the LGBT community is treated as an essential and valued part of the our rich and diverse culture,” he promised.

Veteran human rights campaigner and Green Party member Peter Tatchell, the party’s prospective candidate for the Oxford East constituency, was amongst those beaten by gangs of neo-Nazis, nationalist extremists and Russian Orthodox fundamentalists, with the apparent collusion of sections of the Moscow police and the Russian OMON riot squad.

Mr. Tatchell had travelled to Moscow at the request of the Moscow Gay Pride organisers to support the event and the campaign for gay rights in Russia.  He was the keynote speaker at the opening session of the Moscow Gay Pride conference on Saturday morning, 26 May 2007 at the Swissotel.

The first people arrested were Nikolai Alekseev, the principal organiser of Moscow Pride, his colleagues on the committee and German Green Party Member of Parliament Volker Beck.

They were seized as they attempted to deliver a letter to Moscow Mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, at City Hall.

Soon afterwards, Peter Tatchell unfurled a placard reading, "Gay Rights," written in both Russian and English.  He was set upon and repeatedly bashed by right-wing extremists.

The OMON riot police stood by while neo-Nazis punched Mr. Tatchell in the face, dragged him to the ground, and kicked him all over his body.

Clutching a bloody eye, he was then arrested by the riot police.

Speaking after the attacks Mr. Tatchell said: “They arrested me, but let my attackers walk free

“There is no rule of law in Moscow.  The right to protest does not exist.  This is not a democracy

“[The] protest was about much more than gay rights – We were defending the right to freedom of expression and peaceful protest for all Russians, gay and straight.

“The ban on Moscow Gay Pride is one aspect of a much wider attack on civil society and human rights.  It is evidence of a failed transition from communism to democracy and of a rising trend towards autocracy and authoritarianism, Mr. Tatchell said.

OTHER UK GAY NEWS MOSCOW PRIDE COVERAGE

Moscow Pride:  A Photo EssayEight photographs from l Moscow Pride. 2007

Principal Moscow Gay Pride Organiser Alekseev Also Guilty.  The main organiser of Moscow Gay Pride was today found guilty of disobeying police officers while breaching traffic rules on May 27 as he and other activists, including European parliamentarians tried to deliver a petition to Moscow City Hall signed by around 50 Members of the European Parliament.  (UK Gay News, June 9)

Moscow Gay Pride Organiser Khramov Found Guilty.  One of the three organisers of Moscow Pride has escaped a jail sentence and was fined when found guilty this afternoon in a Moscow court which threw-out evidence, given at a previous hearing by a number of MPs from Europe, as “frivolous”.  (UK Gay News, June 8)

Portuguese Gay Group Slams Russia, the EU and Portugal’s PM Over Moscow Pride.  The Portuguese gay and lesbian group Panteras Rosa (Pink Panthers) today hit out against the Russian authorities after the weekend’s violence in Moscow during Gay Pride.  (UK Gay News, May 29).

May 28:  USA:    Beach, or Beaten in Moscow?  Commentary by Sara Whitman.  I sat at the beach today, and wondered how many people thought Allan and I, with Zachary in tow, thought we were heterosexual.  Okay, Allan in his tiny Speedo and me in my giant one piece Speedo and, of course, gym shorts, were not exactly looking incredibly straight but the image was enough to bother me.  I had read this morning that over thirty gay activists had been arrested in Moscow.

May 28:  UK/Russia:  London Mayor Appeals to Moscow For End of Gay Pride Ban.   Following yesterday’ violence against lesbian and gay rights demonstrators in Moscow – and the arrest of several of the demonstrators – the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has this morning written to his Moscow counterpart Mayor Luzhkov urging that no charges be brought against those who were demonstrating for lesbian and gay rights.

May 28:  Russia:  Gay Pride Organisers Alekseev and Two Others Await Court  – 15 Days In Prison Expected.  Nikolai Alekseev and two colleagues from Moscow Gay Pride are spending tonight in police custody at they await a court appearance later this morning.

May 28:  Russia:  Ahwazi Arabs Condemn Arrest of Gay Rights Demonstrators in Moscow.  Ahwazi Arab activists last night condemned the treatment of gay rights activist Peter Tatchell and other demonstrators in Moscow yesterday.

May 27:  Russia:  Peter Tatchell Speaks About His Experience of Gay Pride, the Assault and His Arrest.  Arrests and violent attacks marred today’s attempted Moscow Gay Pride march.  Fifteen to 20 marchers were arrested.  The organiser of Moscow Pride, Nikolai Alekseev, is being detained overnight at Moscow’s Tverskoi district police station, together with two prominent members of Russia’s Radical and Free Radical parties, Nikolai Khramov and Sergei Konstantinov.  British gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was one of several Gay Pride marchers who were beaten today by gangs of neo-Nazis, nationalist extremists and Russian Orthodox fundamentalists.

May 27:  Russia:  Arrested Gay Pride Activist Asks World for Help.  From inside the Tverskoye police station, where he is being detained, Nikolai Alekseev – one of the Moscow Gay Pride organisers and its spokesperson – has issued a statement asking for international support and for the immediate release of all the gays activists currently being held.

May 27: 
Russia
  Moscow Gay Pride: Dispatches from the FrontThere was trouble in Moscow today when participants at Gay Pride,, led by a number of European politicians, tried to deliver a letter of protest to Mayor Yuri Luzhkov at City Hall.  Violence flared as they faced groups of neo-Facist thugs, religious groups, aggressive police and the OMON.  This is a "record" of the dispatches received by UK Gay News from many sources.

May 27:  Russia Moscow Gay Pride 2006: Where Were the Human Rights Campaigners? The Same Question Can be Asked TodayThe following commentary by GayRussia.ru was written a year ago.  Has the situation changed?  The stark answer is: “Not really”.   Ludmila Alekseeva of the Moscow Helsinki Group and Lev Ponomarev of the Movement for Human Rights have both declined to come, just as last year.

May 26:  Russia Moscow Gay Pride Blog.

May 26:  Russia Moscow City Hall Quiet as 120 Journalists Check In For Moscow Gay Pride.  With Gay Pride about to start, Moscow is surprisingly quiet.  Not a single official statement has been released by Mayor of Moscow, unlike at the same time last year.

May 25:  Russia Tatchell: The Right To Hold Moscow Pride Is Not Just an Issue of Gay, Lesbian Rights International solidarity can help give a psychological and practical boost to local LGBT activists, Peter Tatchell said shortly after arriving in Moscow for the city’s second Gay Pride.
 

May 25:  Russia
She Promises, She Delivers – Vladimir Luxuria in Moscow for Gay Pride.  An interview with Europe's first trangendered politician.


 

Posted: 29 May 2007 at 11:30 UK time

 

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