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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."
Attempt to hold gay parade in Moscow a provocation - Luzhkov
Moscow, May 31, Interfax - Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov has described attempts by participants in a failed gay parade last Saturday to lay flowers to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as a provocation and the desecration of a holy place.
"Those gays decided to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This was a provocation. This is a desecration of a holy place. This is not a church, but a state and national altar. And now gays are going there - I don't know what they looked like, but that is not even important - and they were showing off when they appeared near the memorial. This is desecration. They broke through, and of course they got thrashed," Luzhkov said live on TV Center television.
The Moscow government banned the gay parade after being guided by public opinion, Luzhkov said. "We should first of all listen not to ourselves, but to the Muscovites, the people. Our religious denominations - both Orthodoxy and Islam - stood up resolutely against the holding of a gay parade," Luzhkov said.
"Gays are also our citizens," but their sexual orientation should not be displayed publicly, Luzhkov insisted.
"The gays would have been badly beaten up," he said referring to aggressive opponents of gays and lesbians.
Luzhkov also urged the West to learn moral principles from Russia. "Our morality is purer, and the West should learn something from us regarding morality rather than move toward wild licentiousness," he said.
Moscow says banned gays because "cleaner" than West
Tue May 30, 2006 1:58 PM ET
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Moscow's influential mayor said on Tuesday the city banned gay activists from holding a parade because it is morally cleaner than the West, which is caught up in "mad licentiousness".
The gay activists tried to hold their protest against homophobia and discrimination at the weekend despite the ban, but were detained by police, abused by militant Christians and attacked by neo-fascists.
They had wanted to lay flowers at the grave of the unknown warrior, a monument to those who died defeating Nazi Germany, but police blocked their path.
Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said such an action would have been a desecration of the sacred monument, and rejected Western criticism of his ban as prejudiced and homophobic.
"Our way of life, our morals and our tradition -- our morals are cleaner in all ways. The West has something to learn from us and should not race along in this mad licentiousness," he told Moscow radio, according to local news agencies.
"We may have a democratic country, but we live in an organized country and an organized city."
The protest on Saturday, which was intended as a Gay Pride solidarity event as have become common in Western capitals, degenerated into a scrum with women hurling eggs and fruit at the activists, while shouting "Moscow is not Sodom".
Riot police detained several dozen neo-fascist skinheads who wanted to break up the protest.
Luzhkov, who has run Russia's capital almost as a private fiefdom since 1992, said his anticipation of such a public reaction to the gays' plans had led him to ban the march to ensure the safety of all.
"These gays wanted to lay flowers at the grave of the unknown warrior. This is a provocation. It is desecration of a sacred place," he said.
He rejected the gays' argument that the eternal flame is a monument to all those oppressed by fascism.
"These gays go there, and openly go up to the monument. It is a contamination. People burst through and of course they beat them up," he said.
Gay activists, who were arrested when they arrived at the park with flowers, said the mere fact of holding the protest was a victory.
Gay parade banned in Moscow for reasons of participants safety.
MOSCOW, May 30 (Itar-Tass) -- A sexual minorities parade in Moscow was prohibited for reasons of safety of its participants, Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov said in a live broadcast of central television on Tuesday.
He said, “The decision to deny permission to a group of activists to stage an action of representatives of sexual minorities was not my whim, but the will of Muscovites, who protested against this action.” “Protests against the gay parade came from religious confessions, while l, personally, believe such manifestations of human life should not be flaunted.”
Meanwhile, he said, the main reason for the ban was “the need to ensure safety of homosexuals whom we regard Muscovites the same as people of traditional sexual orientation,” the mayor said. He noted that “a number of aggressively-inclined organizations whose fascist actions we check” came out against the parade.
Luzhkov described as a provocation the attempt of activists of the gay movement to place wreaths at the Unknown Soldier’s Tomb. “This place is sacred to everyone, and using it for agitation and for furthering someone’ s interests should be regarded as desecration,” the mayor said. He spoke sharply against statements of a number of European politicians who disapproved of the ban on the gay parade in the Russian capital. “They may have different moral notions, but they should respect traditions and the way of life in our country,” Luzhkov said.
Police detained some 120 people in connection with the attempt of activists of the gay movement to hold an unsanctioned action in downtown Moscow on May 27. There were among them representatives of sexual minorities and of organizations that objected to the gay parade.
モスクワ・プライドは、暴力・負傷・逮捕に終わってしまった - ILGA
The Sapporo Medical School in Hokkaido, northern Japan, will conduct its first sex reassignment surgeries on two male-to-female transsexual persons in the next few months, the school's spokesperson said on Tuesday.
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Moscow pride ends with violence, injuries, arrests
An attempt to stage Moscow's first-ever gay-pride march ended with violence, injuries and mass arrests May 27. Activists took to the streets even though Mayor Yuri Luzhkov had banned the march and was backed up by the Tverskoi District Court.
Among those arrested were co-organizers Nikolai Alekseev and Eugenia Debryanskaya. The injured included German Member of Parliament Volker Beck, Homosexual Initiative Vienna Secretary-General Kurt Krickler and Merlin Holland, who is Oscar Wilde's grandson.
The first of two main confrontations occurred when gay activists approached the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin, intending to lay wreaths. They were halted by riot police, neo-fascists and hymn-singing Christian militants.
"We were immediately set upon by about 100 fascist thugs and religious fanatics who began pushing, punching and kicking us," said British gay leader Peter Tatchell. "Some individual protesters were surrounded, abused and attacked by gangs of fascists."
The counterprotesters, some wearing masks, also tossed flares. Riot police eventually separated the two groups and arrested some members of both groups.
"This is a great victory, an absolute victory -- look at what's happening," Alekseev said as he was dragged away by police.
A second large-scale confrontation occurred across from City Hall. "Soon after [our] reassembling ... another line of riot police came and drove us out of the square, straight into an oncoming posse of fascists," said Tatchell.
In all, at least 120 people were arrested. Most were later released, but police said they would "draw up ... administrative protocols" against the organizers of the gay march.
Police said the gay marchers and their supporters numbered around 200. About 1,000 police officers, a quarter of Moscow's force, were assigned to prevent the march from happening.
German MP Beck was injured while giving a TV interview. "At first I was hit by a rock and then a young neo-Nazi hit me in the face," he told the Deutsche Presse Agentur news agency. "The security forces did not protect us but instead prevented us from retreating. We were left without any protection," he said in a second interview, with German television.
Austrian Krickler was attacked during the City Hall mêlée. "I myself was attacked by four youth, kicking me with their feet and beating me with their fists," Krickler said. "I got a blow on my eye and could escape, and the aggressors ran away. I had a bad bruise at the eye, and a friend took me to a clinic where the doctor ordered an X-ray as he suspected the sinus could be damaged, too. Fortunately, no severe injury, besides a huge hematoma on the eye." Krickler said a fellow protester was hurt more seriously.
"Pierre [Serne] from France suffered so severe injuries in an attack of skinheads that he had to be hospitalized," he said.
According to the European branch of the International Lesbian and Gay Association, Serne "has hematomas almost everywhere, his face is bruised and one of his legs badly hurt."
Holland, Wilde's grandson, was kicked by "a gang of extremists" while walking up Tverskaya Street, ILGA-Europe said.
England's Tatchell said Mayor Luzhkov's "homophobia created the atmosphere which gave a green light to the fascists to attack the Moscow pride participants." Luzhkov had repeatedly denounced the parade and insisted he would never allow it to proceed.
The day before the march, he told Russkoye Radio: "We will not even consider this matter. ... At least as long as I am mayor, we will not permit such parades. Our church, mosque and synagogue -- that is to say, all the three major confessions in Moscow -- have spoken strongly against such parades.
"The situation as such can be acceptable for some Western countries advanced in this respect," Luzhkov continued, "but it is absolutely unacceptable for Moscow and for Russia. Morality works here. If anyone has any deviations from normal principles in organizing one's sexual life, those deviations should not be exhibited for all to see, and those who may turn out unsteady should not be invited to do so. ... I thank the citizens of Moscow as 99.9 percent of them in recent days also believe it is unacceptable to hold such parades."
Activists also put blame for the violence on Talgat Tadzhuddin, chief mufti of the Russian Muslim Central Directorate. In February, he said: "Under no circumstances should something like this [parade] be permitted. And if they come out into the streets anyway, they should only be beaten up. Any normal person would do that -- Muslims and Orthodox Christians alike."
Moscow Deputy Mayor Lyudmila Shevtsova also was denounced by activists for saying: "In our country, homosexuality and lesbianism have always been considered sexual perversions, and were even prosecuted in the past. Currently, the stated actions are not prohibited by law, but their agitation, including gay festivals and a parade of sexual minorities, is in fact propaganda of immorality, which may be prohibited by law."
May 27 was the 13th anniversary of Russia's decriminalization of homosexuality.
In Paris, openly gay Mayor Bertrand Delanoë said "the grave attacks on respect for human rights and individual identity [were] contrary to the basic principles of a democratic nation."
In the days before the ill-fated march, activists gathered in Moscow for an antihomophobia conference and other events. On May 25, Russian nationalist protesters violently disrupted a lecture by Holland at the State Library of Foreign Literature. About 20 demonstrators shouted "Russia free of faggots!", threw eggs and shot off mace canisters. Police evacuated the hall and the lecture resumed in a different room.
by Rex Wockner
Detailed account of the Gay Pride events in Moscow by ILGA-Europe
Moscow Gay Pride - Mayor of London issues statement
London Mayor Ken Livingstone today said:
'The Russian people suffered greater casualties than any other country from Nazism - whose targets were not only Jews and Soviet citizens but also homosexuals. To see open fascists 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.
'The support given by the Russian Orthodox Church, the Grand Mufti, and the Chief Rabbi to a ban on a peaceful gay pride march is reactionary and the Mayor of Moscow should uphold the right of gay men and lesbians to demonstrate peacefully.
'I strongly oppose the positions of both the Mayor of Moscow and the former Mayor of Warsaw, now the president of Poland, in banning gay rights marches and the support to this given by a number of religious authorities. I strongly endorse the European Parliament resolution of 18 January 2006 calling on all to "firmly to condemn and oppose homophobic hate speech or incitement to hatred and violence" and to treat lesbian and gay people with "respect, dignity and protection".'
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Mayor welcomes EuroPride 06
上記の要約 (at HODGE's PARROT)
London Mayor criticises Moscow Gay Pride violence
The Mayor of London has condemned the violence and religious and nationalist protests that marred gay pride celebrations in Moscow last weekend.
Gay activists who chose to defy a gay pride ban in the Russian capital were met with violence from religious and nationalist protesters chanting anti gay slogans and 1000 riot police aiming to stop demonstrations in the Red Square.
Ken Livingstone said: 'The Russian people suffered greater casualties than any other country from Nazism - whose targets were not only Jews and Soviet citizens but also homosexuals. 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.
“The support given by the Russian Orthodox Church, the Grand Mufti, and the Chief Rabbi to a ban on a peaceful gay pride march is reactionary and the Mayor of Moscow should uphold the right of gays and lesbians to demonstrate peacefully.
“I strongly oppose the positions of both the Mayor of Moscow and the former Mayor of Warsaw, now the president of Poland, in banning gay rights marches and the support to this given by a number of religious authorities. I strongly endorse the European Parliament resolution of 18 January 2006 calling on all to "firmly to condemn and oppose homophobic hate speech or incitement to hatred and violence" and to treat lesbian and gay people with "respect, dignity and protection.”
The Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov banned the gay parade claiming it would protect gays and lesbians from potential violent protests
A statement from the Mayor‘s office said: “This march could provoke a wave of protests which could lead to mass breaches of public order and disturbances, therefore the application for the march has not been successful.”
Shameful violence at Moscow's Pride
Tuesday 30 May, 2006 11:43
Moscow’s first ever gay pride parade on Saturday May 27th was marred by rampant homophobic violence. The march was timed to coincide with the 13th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Russia.
What should have been a celebration, descended into chaos as skinheads and militant Orthodox Christians attacked gay and lesbian marchers. Organisers had tried to keep the route secret after the march was banned by the authorities in Moscow, who called Saturday's parade "an outrage".
Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov was unapologetically frank when he explained why he banned the parade. Such events “may be acceptable for some, in some sense, progressive countries in the West, but not for Russia”.
Peter Tatchell of Outrage was in Moscow for the event and witnessed the shocking events:
"The Mayor of Moscow said gay pride would never happen while he was alive. He mobilised a quarter of the Moscow police, over 1,000 officers, to prevent the gay parade. Despite all his efforts, lesbian and gay Russians - and their international supporters - gathered by the Kremlin in Manezhnaya Square."
Observers of the events which unfolded last Saturday, claim the police stood by as thugs attacked gay activists. Some of the worst scenes unfolded as they attempted to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, just outside the Kremlin wall.
On orders from the mayor, police closed the entrance to the garden where the tomb is located. Tthe first half-dozen activists who arrived carrying flowers were set upon by about 100 religious and nationalist extremists who kicked and punched them.
“Moscow is not Sodom!” they shouted. Women wearing orthodox headscarves held up religious icons while men in Cossack white sheepskin hats and black-and-red tunics looked on. “This is a perverts’ parade,” said one protester holding an icon of the Madonna. “This is filth, forbidden by God. We have to cleanse the world of this filth,” said one of the women in the crowd.
Merlin Holland the heterosexual grandson of Oscar Wilde, who has long been a supporter of homosexual rights in Russia, was also beaten up.
28-year-old Nikolai Alexeyev, leader of the gay and lesbian activists, was dragged from the gates of the monument, and detained by police.
“We are conducting a peaceful protest. We want to show that we have the same rights as other citizens,” Alexeyev had told a news conference a few hours before the rally started.
But the mayor said last Friday the pride march would never take place, at least not as long as he held office, and a local court upheld the ban.
Peter Tatchell commented on the weekend's dramas: "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. The Mayor's homophobia created the atmosphere which gave a green light to the fascists to attack the Moscow Pride participants.
"The repression of a handful of lesbian and gay protestors signifies the fear and weakness of the Russian state, said Tatchell in a statement to the press.
"We had a moral and political victory, forcing the Moscow authorities to unleash forces of repression comparable with the bad old days of the Soviet era."
London's Mayor, Ken Livingstone has also condemned the violence in Moscow last weekend.
Livingstone said: 'The Russian people suffered greater casualties than any other country from Nazism - whose targets were not only Jews and Soviet citizens but also homosexuals.
"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."
Sexual minorities plan to hold annual gay rallies in Moscow
Moscow, May 30, Interfax - Sexual minorities plan to hold another gay rally in Moscow next year and to make it an annual event in the future, Nikolay Alexeyev, leader of the GayRussia.Ru project told Interfax on Tuesday.
‘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’, the agency’s interlocutor said.
Thus he said people of non-traditional sexual orientation plan ‘to raise rainbow flags over Moscow again’ on May 27, 2007, as symbols of gay community.
The next year Alexeyev reported will be used by Russian gays and lesbians to challenge in courts of various instances up to the Strasbourg one the ban imposed on the ‘queer march’ in Moscow. To this end, they intend to hire lawyers from abroad, including the well-known London-based gay Professor Robert Wintmute who is said to succeed in a great deal of cases on behalf of sexual minorities.
Alexeyev said he does not regard non-traditional sexual orientation as deviation from norm. ‘Homosexuality is the same norm as heterosexuality, and it is only pseudo-doctors who disagree with it’, he noted.
The organizer of the gay rally also expressed disagreement with those who see in such actions an insult to public morality. ‘It is absolutely all the same to me what the patriarch and all this followers think about it. He can preach it in his church. We are a secular state, and I live according to the law of a secular state, not according to the Bible’, he stressed.
He said ‘even if 99% of the Russians are against gay parades, it does not matter at all, as there is a minority whose rights are to be respected just as the rights of the rest’.
German Stance on Moscow Gay Crackdown Under Debate
DW staff (sp) | www.dw-world.de | © Deutsche Welle.
German Stance on Moscow Gay Crackdown Under Debate
Images of Beck's bloodied face have sparked strong reaction in Germany
Volker Beck, a gay German parliamentarian who was injured when he participated in Russia's first-ever gay rights rally over the weekend, has sparked debate in Germany about to deal with Russia.
Volker Beck, a leader of the German Green party and a prominent gay rights activist, had traveled to Russia to show his support for the country’s gay rights movement. The parade to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Russia took place on Saturday even though authorities had banned the march.
The gay activists, led by 28-year-old Nikolai Alexeyev, had planned to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier -- a symbol of the World War II struggle against fascism, and one of Russia's most sacred places. But they were soon surrounded by dozens of militant Orthodox Christians and skinheads who chanted anti-gay slogans and tried to break up the gathering.
In the ensuing scuffles, Beck was punched in the face and slightly injured.
"I was attacked," Beck told German television. "It was a stone and a fist. It shows we're not safe in this country. The security forces did not protect us but instead prevented us from retreating. We were left without any protection."
Following the confusion, the German politician was detained and only released after authorities recognized his parliamentary credentials.
Moscow events spark heated debate in Germany
Pictures of a bloodied Beck surrounded by Moscow police have triggered strong reactions in Germany.
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Homosexuals are far from accepted in Russia
Andreas Schockenhoff, Russia expert of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has accused Beck of violating the "rules of the game" in Russia, saying that one had to obey the political norms of the host country and that Beck was only seeking to profile himself by participating in the demonstration.
The attack is "naturally outrageous," said Schockenhoff in a newspaper interview. But by taking part in a banned demonstration, Beck had "irresponsibly and willing put himself in danger," Schockenhoff added.
Schockenhoff's comments have sparked anger among Germany's Greens as well as members of the CDU.
"If one is attacked by another person, then he's not to blame," Jürgen Rüttgers, the conservative premier of the state of North-Rhine Westphalia told news channel N24. What happened in Moscow "isn't worthy of a democracy," Rüttgers added.
Ruprecht Polenz, another member of the CDU, also slammed the bloody turn of events in Moscow. "In Russia too, peaceful demonstrations, even if they're banned, have to be protected by the state from attacks," Polenz told Spiegel Online.
Germany urged to take tougher line
Others have urged the German government to lodge a strongly-worded protest in Moscow.
"It can't be that a state assumes that such matters are decided by the rule of force," Arnold Vaatz, another CDU member said, adding that Berlin had to complain.
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Neo-fascism is a growing problem in Russia
Volker Beck this week urged the German government to do more internationally to champion the rights of homosexuals. Beck pointed out that another gay-rights parade planned in Warsaw on June 10 had been banned. It's a bit "annoying" that the German government "wasn't really interested" about the repression of homosexuals in Russia, Beck added.
In Paris, Mayor Bertrand Delanoe "condemned in the strongest terms the unacceptable incidents which disturbed the gay pride march in Moscow." Delanoe called them "grave attacks on respect for human rights and for individual identity, contrary to the basic principles of a democratic nation."
Clementine Autain, one of Delanoe's aides said: "At the moment when Russia is taking over the presidency of the Council of Europe we are concerned because the Russian authorities haven't shown the will to respect human rights, in particular the rights of minorities and freedom of expression."
Homophobia part of a bigger problem in Russia?
Others, however, have pointed out that homophobia is a deeply-entrenched problem in Russia.
"Homophobia is part of the larger problem of xenophobia" in Russia today, Nikolai Alekseyev, the organizer of the protest, said at a news conference. "This country defeated fascism and today it is again on the rise," he said.
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Public displays of affection among gay couples are taboo in Russia
Moscow’s mayor Yuri Luzkhov had warned that the event would "provoke outrage in society“ because homosexuality is not natural. He also claimed that 99 percent of the people in Moscow were supportive of the ban.
Homosexuality was considered a crime in Russia until 1993, and a mental illness up to 1999. Even today same-sex couples almost never make a public display of their affection. According to activists, discrimination is still a major problem in Russian society, with gays and lesbians facing widespread public intolerance.
DW staff (sp)
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Embassy of the Russian Federation in Japan
H. E. Mr. Alexander Prokhorovich LOSYUKOV
Consulate-General of the Russian Federation in Osaka
Mr. PROKHOROV Ivan
Consulate-General of the Russian Federation in Sapporo
Mr. Leonid SHEVCHUK
Consulate-General of the Russian Federation in Niigata
〒950-0911 新潟市笹口1丁目20-5 ファイ・ビル
Mr. KULAKOV Vasily
Honorary Consulate of the Russian Federation in Aomori
名誉領事：大道寺 小三郎 氏
Mr. DAIDOJI Kosaburo
Satirized Anthem Spreads in Japan
By Kim Rahn
Japanese protesting their national anthem are satirizing the song by secretly turning its lyrics into English words, according to a Japanese newspaper.
The Sankei Shimbun reported on Monday that the satirical song has been spread as a new sabotage weapon of protest among groups that object to hanging the national flag or singing the national anthem, the Kimigayo.
The English parody of the anthem, titled ``Kiss Me,’’ takes the syllables of each word of the Japanese original and turns them into phonetically similar English words.
Due to the phonetic similarity, it is hard to detect whether a person is singing the original Kimigayo or the parody. Many teachers and students, who think the anthem arouses nationalism and militarism, sing the latter one at school entrance or graduation ceremonies, the newspaper said.
For example, the first verse of the national anthem ``Kimigayo wa’’ becomes ``Kiss me girl, your old one,’’ in reference to ``comfort women’’ _ women who were forced into sexual slavery during World War II.
The original anthem wishes Japanese Emperor a thousand years’ of happy reign. But the satirized version implies that a girl who met a former comfort woman sympathizes with the woman and wants the truth revealed.
The lyrics are ``Kiss me girl, your old one. Till you’re near, it is years till you’re near. Sounds of the dead will she know? She wants all told, now retained, for cold caves know the moon’s seeing the mad and dead.’’
The writer of the song remains unknown.
The Kimigayo was scrapped in 1945 after Japan was defeated in World War II. But in 1999, the Japanese government again recognized the national anthem and national flag, obliging teachers and students to hoist the national flag and sing the Kimigayo during school events such as entrance ceremonies.
Hundreds of teachers have been punished for refusing to follow the order.
Since the law was legislated, many parody anthems have been made and ``Kiss Me’’ has spread through the Internet since school graduation season in February, the newspaper reported.
A Web site of a group opposing the obligatory anthem said the song is the masterpiece of Kimigayo parodies, adding it is a small pillar of protest in the hearts of people who are forced to sing the anthem.
Japan's rebels sing out with English parody of anthem
Justin McCurry in Tokyo
Tuesday May 30, 2006
Japanese who object to being forced to sing their country's national anthem have a secret weapon: the English language. Kiss Me, an English parody of the Kimigayo, has spread through the internet and was sung by teachers and pupils at recent school entrance and graduation ceremonies, local media reported yesterday.
The song, whose composer remains a mystery, takes the syllables of each word of the Japanese original and turns them into phonetically similar English words, allowing non-conformist singers to escape detection. For example, "Kimigayo wa" becomes "Kiss me girl, your old one".
Weeks after a British music producer caused uproar in the US with a Spanish version of the Star-Spangled Banner, the conservative newspaper Sankei Shimbun denounced the new song as an attempt to "sabotage" Japan's traditional anthem.
Leftwing teachers unions regard Kimigayo, which is based on an ancient poem wishing the emperor a "thousand years of happy reign", as a symbol of Japan's militarist past. The controversial anthem was not legally recognised until 1999, and in 2003 the Tokyo metropolitan government, led by the rightwing governor Shintaro Ishihara, ordered teachers to stand and sing it at school ceremonies. Hundreds of teachers have been punished for refusing to follow the order.
The English lyrics have a serious political twist: they apparently refer to the tens of thousands of Asian "comfort women" who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels during the second world war.
A website run by a group opposing the anthem said it hoped the parody would "become a small pillar of opposition in people's hearts".
A member of another anti-Kimigayo group in Tokyo said she had "absolutely no idea" who was behind the song. "It's certainly nothing to do with us," she said.
Foes give 'Kimigayo' sarcastic spin
By AKEMI NAKAMURA
The Japan Times: Tuesday, May 30, 2006
A citizens' group opposed to the government's adoption of the Hinomaru as the national flag and "Kimigayo" as the anthem has posted two sarcastic alternatives in awkward English of the song on its Web site, ruffling the feathers of officials and conservative lawmakers.
The group "hopes the lyrics can become a small pillar for those who do not want to sing the song but are forced to sing it" at school ceremonies, the Web site says.
On Monday, the conservative daily Sankei Shimbun slammed the renditions as an attempt to subvert the national anthem.
The government officially adopted "Kimigayo" and the rising sun flag in 1999, despite widespread concern it would rekindle feelings of militarism. The song, unofficially titled "His Majesty's Reign," is based on an ancient poem that wishes long life for the Emperor.
Although the rhymes in the alternatives resemble the Japanese original, the content is completely different.
The English renditions are titled "Kiss Me" and "Kiss Me Girl" and urge people to remember Japan's wartime aggression, including the Nanjing Massacre and the "comfort women" -- those forced into sexual slavery for the Imperial Japanese Army.
The lyrics to one of the alternatives go:
Kiss me, girl, your old one.
Till you're near, it is years till you're near.
Sounds of the dead will she know?
She wants all told, now retained,
For cold caves know the moon's seeing the mad and dead.
No author was identified.
The Tokyo metropolitan board of education ordered public teachers and their students to sing "Kimigayo" at graduation and entrance ceremonies starting in October 2003 and punished more than 300 teachers who refused.
According to education ministry guidelines, schools must display the Hinomaru and have teachers and students sing the national anthem.
Government officials said they are unsure whether the sarcastic spinoffs are growing in popularity and urged people to stick to the original.
"(People) should sing the words to 'Kimigayo' that are approved by law," one ministry official said.
Despite the lyrics, Toru Kondo, a teacher of English at Kasai Minami High School in Edogawa Ward, Tokyo, who refuses to sing "Kimigayo," said he will shun the alternatives because the melody is the same as the original.
"I don't like the song ("Kimigayo") in its entirety -- both lyrics and melody, considering its link to Japan's wartime militarism, as well as the board of education's use of coercion to make teachers and students sing it at school ceremonies," he said.
Takashi Narushima, an education law professor at Niigata University, said it is only natural to parody "Kimigayo" when authorities are cramming it down the throats of teachers and students.
"It's passive resistance," he said. "People can decide to sing 'Kimigayo' or a parody or refuse to sing it."
Seishiro Sugihara, an education professor at Musashino University in Tokyo, meanwhile said the national anthem should be respected.
Japan: Parody of anthem heats up nationalist debate - Financial Times