TV & Radio
Russian Gays Defiant, Vow More Gay Marches
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
May 30, 2006 - 5:00 pm ET
(Moscow) Russian gays say they will not be cowed into retreating to the closet despite last weekend's violence at a gay pride march in Moscow.
The organizers of the march say they already are planning for a similar march next year.
"The 27th of May has been for us so far an anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1993 in Russia. But the gay parade in 2006 in Moscow and the situation in which it was held has given much more weight to this date," Nikolay Alexeyev told the Interfax news agency on Tuesday.
Alexeyev, who was one of about 120 gays detained by police Saturday when they attempted to hold a pride parade after Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov refused to issue them a parade permit. (story)
Members of an extremist national group and Russian Orthodox church members attacked the marchers. At one point a gas canister was tossed a group of gays.
On Tuesday Alexeyev told Interfax that Russian gays and lesbians to challenge the city in court and are prepared to go all the way to the European Court in Strasbourg.
He said that they intend to hire lawyers from outside the country to ensure they get fair representation.
But Mayor Luzhkov is defending his actions. He told Moscow Radio on Tuesday that Russia is morally cleaner than the West.
"Our way of life, our morals and our tradition -- are cleaner in all ways," he said. "The West has something to learn from us and should not race along in this mad licentiousness."
While Russian gays struggle to gain recognition the LGBT community in another former Soviet state have been given permission to hold pride celebrations.
The city government of Bucharest has approved a permit for a rally to be held this Saturday.
About a thousand people from throughout Romania are expected.
The approval from the city came despite stiff opposition by the Orthodox Church and a Romanian nationalist group.
Next year in Moscow, activists vow
Tuesday, May 30, 2006 / 02:41 PM
SUMMARY: As European leaders condemn the violence at Saturday's thwarted Pride march, LGBT Russians are already planning a rally on the same date next year.
Though police and protesters thwarted Moscow's first Gay Pride march Saturday, gay community leaders are already planning to hold another rally on the same date next year.
Nikolai Alexeyev, the main organizer of Saturday's rally, told the Interfax news service that the recent controversies over a Pride parade in Moscow are making May 27 a date needs to be commemorated annually.
"The 27th of May has been for us so far an anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1993 in Russia," he said. "But the gay parade in 2006 in Moscow and the situation in which it was held has given much more weight to this date."
Police in riot gear and religious and nationalist protesters prevented gay rights activists from marching Saturday, and more than 120 people were detained during violent clashes in the city. The activists -- from Moscow and cities across Europe -- planned to rally in defiance of the city's ban on the Pride parade.
Activists accused the police of cooperating with the protesters, some of whom punched and kicked gay men and lesbians who were intending to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a symbol of Russia's victory over fascism in World War II.
Volker Beck, a gay German parliamentarian, was hit in the face with a stone and a fist, the Deutsche Welle newspaper reported, prompting outrage across Germany's political spectrum and demands that the government censure Moscow's response.
"This first Moscow Pride took place, but not as we had planned it -- thanks to the combined opposition of Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and the neo-Nazis," said U.K.-based activist Peter Tatchell, who participated in the rally. "The mayor's homophobia created the atmosphere which gave a green light to the fascists to attack the Moscow Pride participants."
The mayors of London and Paris also condemned the Moscow violence.
"To see open fascists and Nazis parading in Moscow, and assaulting gay and lesbian people, is to trample on the memory of all those who fought against Nazism and particularly the 27 million Soviet citizens who died in the fight against fascism," London Mayor Ken Livingstone said.
While many religious leaders in Moscow denounce homosexuality, Alexeyev stressed that Russia is a secular state.
"Even if 99 percent of Russians are against gay parades," he told Interfax, "it does not matter at all, as there is a minority whose rights are to be respected just as the rights of the rest."
by alfayoko2005 | 2006-05-31 10:21