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
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
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
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
“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.”
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.
||Russian 'Day of Silence' website
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Posted: 1 May 2008 at
20:30 (UK time)