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RUSSIA

St. Petersburg City Authorities Do U-Turn on Gay ‘Day of Silence’

 

Organisers scale-down format so event can go ahead
 

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This article is only available in English on this site.  For online instant translation in selected languages, see below.

 


 



 

ST. PETERSBURG, May 1, 2008  –  The authorities in St. Petersburg have unexpectedly changed their decision and will not approve the mass rally dedicated to the International Day of Silence – the first in Russia, it emerged this afternoon.

As was previously reported, the city’s gay community planned to hold the event on May 3, between 12 noon and 2 pm, dedicated to the International Day of Silence.

But following the ‘u-turn’ by the city, the organisers decided to somewhat alter the format of the event from that originally reported.

The “Day of Silence” will now take the form of a series of individual rallies.

According to Russian legislation, individual rallies do not require preliminary notification of and approval by the authorities.

The decision to change the format was brought about by the Administration of the Central District of St. Petersburg having unexpectedly reversed its own decision to approve the mass rally.

Yesterday, the organisers received an official letter stating, in particular, that “due to an official function being planned by the Internal Affairs authorities on the territory adjacent to the Department of Internal Affairs of the Central District, in the Chernyshevskiy Park, it is not feasible to approve the public event on the requested site.”

The first notification of the rally, initially planned to take place on the Malaya Konyushennaya Street on May 3, was submitted to the Administration of the Central District on April 24.

Then, on April 28 the event was denied, since “due to the celebratory activities of the 1, 2, and 3 of May in the centre of the city, a large gathering of people, both city inhabitants and visitors, is expected, and the rally would interfere with the work to ensure safe and unimpeded passage of citizens and with the necessary anti-terrorist activities by the law enforcement authorities.”

Later in its response, the Administration itself suggested to move the event to the Chernyshevsky Park.

At the time, there was no mention of any “official function” at the site.

Neither was it mentioned on the morning of April 29, when the rally organisers were handing over the notification of agreement with the Administration’s suggestion.

Additionally, the organisers were given verbal assurance that everything was in order and that there wasn’t – and wouldn’t – be any problem with approval of the rally.

“We never wished, nor currently wish, to enter into any conflict with anyone, a spokesperson said.

“The ‘Day of Silence’ in St. Petersburg is going to take place in full accordance with the active legislation.

“We want to draw attention to a problem that is important for all of society.  Anyone can fall victim to violence and harassment due to being ‘different’ from others, because every one of us is individual in his or her own way.”

SEE ALSO

Russian Gays to Stage ‘Day of Silence’ in St. Petersburg Next Month Gay men and women in St. Petersburg will be marking the first-ever Russian Day of Silence on Saturday May 3 with a rally on Malaya Konyushennaya Street.  UK Gay News, April 26, 2008.

LINK

  Russian 'Day of Silence' website
   

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.  

Posted: 1 May 2008 at 20:30 (UK time)

 

 


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