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EU, UK and US Fail to Condemn Ban on Moscow Gay Pride as Activists Gather in Secret Locations

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■ Flashback to 2006.  A defiant Peter Tatchell with the Rainbow flag in Red Square following the firt attempt to stage a Gay Pride in Moscow.
photo: UK Gay News


Commentary by Peter Tatchell in Moscow

In a shameless display of feeble deference to the Mayor of Moscow, a court in the Russian capital today upheld Mayor Luzhkov’s ban of the fifth attempted Moscow Gay Pride parade.

The judge acted in defiance of the Russian constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression and the right to protest.

This is a sad day for Russian democracy.  It is the latest of many suppressions of civil liberties that happen in supposedly democratic Russia.  Many other protests are also denied and repressed, not just gay ones.

Autocracy rules under President Medvedev.

The EU and western embassies are hypocrites.  They support Gay Pride events in Poland and Latvia, but not in Russia.  The UK and US governments have not protested to the Russian authorities.  Their ambassadors to Russia have offered no support to the Moscow Pride organisers.  They have ignored suggestions that they host Gay Pride events in their embassy grounds and that they fly the gay rainbow flag on Moscow Pride day, 29 May.

On the eve of the banned march, activists are arriving in Moscow from all parts of Russia, to join the Saturday parade.  We are being billeted in secret locations across the city.

To outwit the FSB security services, who have previously tried to locate Gay Pride activists by tracing their mobile phones, we have surrendered our mobiles and been issued with brand new Russian sim cards.

I am holed up with a group of activists in an apartment in Moscow.

We’ve been asked to remove all badges and ribbons that might identify us as gay or as activists.  All the beds and sofas, and much of the floor space, is taken up with activists form far and wide. Everyone is messing in to organize food and household chores.

We are ready and determined to make a stand for gay rights and the right to protests. The courage and resolve of the Russian LGBT activists is really inspiring. We’ll take whatever the authorities, and neoNazis, throw at us. We are hoping for no arrests and no assaults, but we are ready for the worst.


Moscow Court Upholds Ban of Moscow Gay Pride by Mayor Luzhkov.   Organisers say the court decision will not change their plans for “event” at European Commission office.  A judge at the Tverskoy District Court in Moscow confirmed today the legality of the earlier ban of the Moscow Pride march by the Mayor of the Russian capital, Yuri Luzhkov.  (UK Gay News, May 28, 2010)

Blogging from Moscow Gay Pride.  
UK Gay News is in Moscow and blogging has started.  Today the first of two legal appeals on Pride bans ... and a press conference in the Holiday Inn. (UK Gay News, May 27, 2010)

Luzhkov Should Stand Trial Over Moscow Gay Pride Bans Says Tatchell.  The mayor of Moscow is a criminal over his bans of Moscow Gay Pride for the last five years, the gay rights activist Peter Tatchell said this afternoon.  (UK Gay News, May 27, 2010)





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Posted: 28 May 2010 at 18:00 (UK time)


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