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St. Petersburg Times 2006/05/30
Gay March Marred by Violent Protestors
By Anastasiya Lebedev
MOSCOW — Activists attempting to hold Moscow’s first-ever gay rights march Saturday were overwhelmed by militant Orthodox Christians and ultranationalists throwing smoke bombs.
A handful of activists were injured, including a German lawmaker. The Bundestag member, his face streaked with blood, was detained by police.
Pedestrian movement was blocked for a few hours as riot police cordoned off a square around a monument to Prince Yury Dolgoruky. And traffic was briefly stopped when smoke bombs — resembling flares and emitting large plumes of smoke — were thrown at the intersection across the street, across from the Kremlin.
More than 100 gay rights activists and some of their most vocal foes were arrested by police. Mayor Yury Luzhkov had banned the parade, and on Friday a city court upheld the ban.
Among the first to be arrested were Nikolai Alexeyev, the march’s chief organizer, and Philippe Lasnier, an aide to the mayor of Paris. Alexeyev spent the day in custody; Lasnier was briefly detained.
Alexeyev said Sunday that the event had been a great success, despite the low turnout. “A hundred people were not afraid to go out and protest homophobia and fascism,” he said.
One French observer at Saturday’s event said police had detained the German lawmaker, Green Party member Volker Beck, to prevent him from being further pummeled.
Several hundred ultranationalists descended on central Moscow to protest the march. Some of them wore camouflage. Others sported facemasks or hid their faces in their shirt collars.
Organizers had hoped the parade would be the capstone of a two-day conference bringing together gays and lesbians from Russia, Europe and the United States.
The conference, called Moscow Pride ‘06, was described as disorganized by gay web sites not affiliated with the event, which included a lecture given by Merlin Holland, grandson of Oscar Wilde.
The British author, widely known to have been gay, was convicted of gross indecency in 1895 and sentenced to two years of hard labor.
Organizers of Saturday’s march had called for gays and lesbians to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and then gather at the monument to Prince Yury Dolgoruky, which faces City Hall, to picket the ban. The time and place of the march were announced just hours before the event.
But police blocked the entrance to the Alexander Gardens, where the tomb is located.
When the marchers arrived at the gated entranceway to the garden, they were met by women holding icons and wearing long skirts and headscarves. A small group of men in Cossack dress was on hand to protest the march, among others.
As the activists laid their flowers at the gate, protesters stomped on them and threw eggs and tomatoes at the activists. And as the protesters’ chants — “Death to fags!” and “Fags out of Russia!” — grew louder, and as the tenor of the confrontation grew uglier, OMON riot police formed a chain to pry the crowd away from the gate.
The icon-bearing women added to the chorus, chanting “Moscow is not Sodom.” Many sang psalms, mostly from the traditional Easter service.
One woman protesting the march accused police officers who were attempting to contain the mob of siding with homosexuals, prompting one officer to point to the cross around his neck.
Conference participants, most of them foreigners, observed the goings-on with concern and confusion.
A couple stood under rainbow-colored umbrellas. The six-color rainbow is an international gay and lesbian symbol that apparently was not recognized by protesters, who did not attack people holding the umbrellas.
After the confrontation at the entrance to the Alexander Gardens, some parade organizers began moving toward the monument. The parade’s protesters walked in that direction, too.
The steps of the monument had been occupied by a large swarm of ultranationalists, including Alexander Belov, head of the Movement Against Illegal Immigrants, and Konstantin Krylov, head of the Russian Public Movement.
State Duma Deputy Nikolai Kuryanovich, of the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party, in a speech at the foot of the monument lashed out at the “gay mafia” for promoting ideals he called suited for “rotting America and dying Europe.”
Kuryanovich also recalled that homosexuality was once a crime in Russia and defended the neo-Nazi salute. He then led the crowd in a chant of “Gays and lesbians to Kolyma,” the notorious Soviet-era labor camp.
Riot police tried to block more people from gathering near the monument but did not make an attempt to interrupt Kuryanovich’s speech.
Kuryanovich’s web site offers condolences to the family and friends of Dmitry Borovikov, a founder of a violent extremist group killed by police in St. Petersburg earlier this month while resisting arrest.
A few gay rights activists eventually arrived at the monument but were unable to hold their rally.
Yevgenia Debryanskaya, a leader of the lesbian rights movement in Russia since the 1990s, tried to give a speech but was doused with water as protesters laughed at her. She was dragged away by police.
Alexeyev said participation would have been greater if the event had been permitted by authorities.
Organizers did not want to put a large number of people at risk by inviting them to take part, Alexeyev said, so no notices were posted on gay-themed web sites and no mass mailings were conducted.
St. Petersburg Times 2006/05/30
"Normal" Russians Seek Prey
By Anastasiya Lebedev
MOSCOW — One of the victims of the violence that broke out at Saturday’s aborted gay rights march had the misfortune of simply being the wrong color.
While walking down Tverskaya Ulitsa with a female companion, the dark-skinned man, who did not give his name, was attacked by ultranationalists looking for prey.
As he was overtaken by some of the mob, the man was knocked to the ground and punched and kicked. The young woman, a Russian, tried to shield him with her body.
An onlooker tried to tear away one of the attackers, and five or six of the assailants fled just before police officers arrived, ushering the man and woman, both in their twenties, into a squad car. None of the thugs who had attacked the man were detained.
What became clear at the march Saturday was that the ultranationalists, Orthodox Church protesters and other opponents of gay rights were not only fighting gay rights — they were protesting anything they deemed un-Russian. Whether it was South Asians or Westerners or anyone who collided with their nostalgia for a closed, imperial Russia, everyone on “the outside” was a potential target.
One young man who only gave his first name, Alexei, happily admitted that he had taken part in the beating of a German lawmaker, Volker Beck.
“I punched him in the face myself because I’m a normal Russian guy,” Alexei said, grinning.
Using a widespread Russian expression, Alexei said he and others came to protest the march to “combine the pleasant things with the useful things” — hanging out with his friends while physically beating people he considers perverts.
Kirill Frolov, head of the Moscow chapter of the Orthodox Citizens’ Union, passed out flyers to passersby saying that European officials involved in the march were seeking to instigate an Orange Revolution-style overthrow of the government in Russia. The flyers also said that the bird flu sweeping the globe was God’s punishment for homosexuality.
Frolov added that the union had worked closely with law enforcement agencies.
Alexei Gozhgo, 19, marched with the Cossacks, who, he said, came from the Tula region. He said he opposed gays and lesbians because they would not do anything to boost Russia’s shrinking population.
Not far away, on Tverskaya Ulitsa, two women holding hands voiced support for the display of gay solidarity.
“This is a necessary and effective action,” one of the women, Yekaterina Shavyrina, said. “We’re also a part of society.”
Russia insufficiently tolerant of gays, lesbians - campaigner
Moscow, May 29, Interfax - The Russian public is insufficiently tolerant of gays and lesbians, Moscow Human Rights Bureau Director Alexander Brod told Interfax on Monday.
The bureau is monitoring xenophobia in Russia with European Union support.
"Research shows that about one-third of Russians feel negatively toward those with non-traditional sexual orientations. This is a sign of high intolerance," he said.
"We see that Russia is still far from being tolerant. This is deplorable and incompatible with the principles of a civilized state," he said.
Bearing in mind public feelings, the action in Moscow on Saturday should not have been held, Brod said.
Unauthorized actions by supporters and opponents of a gay pride parade were held in downtown Moscow on Saturday. Over 100 people were detained.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006. Page 11.
Whether for or Against the Cops Must Protect
By Ella Paneyakh
Saturday's gay parade was bound to draw attention. It occurred in a country where a citizen arriving from the provinces in his own capital has about the same rights as an illegal alien in most of Europe, attempts to draw attention to the problem of domestic violence sound like some kind of Western exotica and torture by the police is routine. The fact that people here are less than respectful of gay rights shouldn't come as a surprise.
But the authorities did all they could to turn this exotic, but completely innocent, procession into an embarrassment. First, they prohibited the event on the grounds of complaints from the public and concern that there would be a major disturbance. Nobody bothered to point out that preventing disturbances is the police's job and that potential troublemakers shouldn't stand in the way of a citizen's right to protest.
The activists, deciding to hold the event anyways, were met by Orthodox Christian fundamentalists and other radicals. In principle, there shouldn't be any problem here. Under normal civil society conditions, among the different minorities are those who believe the function of other people's sexual organs falls within their sphere of competence. In the United States, these include the people who picket abortion clinics and scream all manners of filth at frightened and troubled women entering. People who accompany and try to protect these women are instructed to stay close in order to shield them, but not to make contact with the protesters in any way. This constitutes assault, and the police aren't going to spend a lot of time trying to figure out who ran into whom -- they are just there to maintain order. The anti-abortion activists understand this as well.
The job of proper law enforcement officers is to leave their personal politics on the shelf and take care of their primary responsibility: ensuring order and defending the rights of the citizenry. They are there to apprehend -- hopefully without maiming -- hooligans attacking the demonstrators and, most importantly, to ensure that all the rest, fundamentalists and homosexuals included, are able to express their opinions peacefully. Then we can charge both sides with holding an unauthorized demonstration. The riot troops managed not only to allow attacks on participants in the march but also to attack a lot of people themselves.
This doesn't mean that in Russia the state is particularly homophobic or anti-Orthodox or totalitarian. It means that the state, in its basic role as an organization providing citizens with order, safety and the chance to stand up peacefully for what they believe, simply doesn't exist.
Ella Paneyakh is a St. Petersburg-based sociologist. A longer version of this comment appeared in Vedomosti.
作詞・作曲 : 松任谷由実
あなたの Ray-Ban には 午後の街が映る
The Financial Times
World / Asia-Pacific
Parody of anthem heats up nationalist debate
By David Pilling in Tokyo
Published: May 29 2006 12:14 | Last updated: May 29 2006 12:14
Teachers unwilling to sing the “Kimigayo” national anthem at school ceremonies have been singing a parody version alluding to Japan’s wartime use of South Korean women as sex slaves.
The version, which subverts the lyrics of an anthem that prays for the long life of Japan’s emperor, was on Monday severely criticised by the Sankei newspaper, a conservative daily, which accused participating teachers of “sabotage”.
The parody is apparently hard to distinguish from the original by government officials sent to school inauguration and graduation ceremonies to enforce singing of the anthem, as they have been since 2004 following a directive from the Tokyo education board.
The parody of the “Kimigayo” contains such phrases as the “mad and the dead” and starts with the refrain “kiss me girl”, in apparent reference to the imperial army’s use of so-called “comfort women”, according to versions published on the internet.
Japan has become locked in argument with South Korea over textbooks that brush over, or omit entirely, references to sex slaves.
Monday’s volley from the Sankei newspaper is the latest episode in a wider, often rancorous, debate about the nature and proper extent of patriotism in a country whose majority has been suspicious of national symbols for most of the post-war period.
This month parliamentarians have been debating an amendment to the 1947 basic education law, which seeks to create an education system that develops “an attitude which respects tradition and culture and loves the nation and homeland that have fostered them.”
Junichiro Koizumi, prime minister, argues it is time for Japan to become less queasy about patriotism more than 60 years after the war ended. “It is natural for everybody to develop a sense of emotional attachment and patriotism towards the state,” he told parliament recently.
That view has fairly wide support among the political class, outside the communist and other leftwing parties. Even an alternative bill proposed by the opposition Democratic Party of Japan talks of “cultivating love towards Japan”.
But the move towards patriotism has raised concern among some Japanese, especially teachers’ unions, who say the country is drifting towards nationalism.
Hiroko Arai, a life-long teacher who has been denied teaching jobs since she refused to sing the national anthem, said: “Those in power desire to control education from above. Enforcement or coercion is inappropriate in a place of education.”
She said: “The [pacifist] Article 9 of the constitution is a strong obstacle to the advance of militarism in Japan. To get rid of it, it is necessary to imprint nationalism in the hearts of children.”
Together with four other teachers, Ms Arai is suing the Tokyo board of education for the alleged illegal denial of employment.
On Tuesday, another court case reaches its conclusion when a verdict is handed down on Katsuhisa Fujita, a former teacher at a school in Itabashi, Tokyo. Mr Fujita is being prosecuted for disrupting a graduation ceremony in 2004 by distributing leaflets saying it was not obligatory to sing the anthem or stand before the flag.
Mr Koizumi’s administration has moved to make Japan less hamstrung by its pacifist constitution and wartime guilt. He has defended his right, as head of a long-peaceful nation, to visit the Yasukuni shrine, which in China is a hated symbol of Japanese wartime aggression.
Additional reporting by Kaori Suzuki
「君が代」替え歌流布 ネット上「慰安婦」主題？ (産経 2006/05/29)
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．
'力を入れればチューブのお尻が破れる' from 隔数日刊 | Daily Bullshit.
【ライブドア・ニュース 05月29日】－ 東京都には１日１件以上のペースで新たなHIV感染が報告されている―。厚生労働省とエイズ予防財団は29日、HIV検査普及週間にともなうイベントを実施した。東京都新宿区で行われた街頭キャンペーンには、赤松正雄厚生労働副大臣や女優の田中好子さんが参加し、道行く人々にHIV検査の重要性などを訴えた。
エイズ検査参加を呼び掛け 普及週間で田中好子さん (共同 2006/05/29)
Education Bill Sets Patriotism Over Individualism
TOKYO , May 29 (IPS) - Hiroo Miyamoto, 60, a retired businessman, follows with keen interest the ongoing debate on revising Japan's post-war education policy that emphasises individual rights and democracy over patriotism.
''There are a lot of social problems these days because of the lack of ethical consciousness among young Japanese who have been educated without morality or a sense of public duty. Japan's post-war education policy that focuses on individualism is wrong,'' he says.
Miyamoto's concerns are at the heart of current debates on education in the Japanese Diet (parliament) that has pitched liberalists and experts against conservative politicians who are supported by a growing number of Japanese -- 60 percent in a new poll released last week-- worried about social breakdown in the country.
An 18-point bill containing the proposed revision, that could be passed next month, at the end of the current Diet session, will highlight 'patriotism education' which is supposed to inculcate a sense of public duty and respect for the tradition and culture of Japan.
''Times have changed and that is why we are considering the importance of education again,'' said Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi who stressed that the new proposal would not disturb the freedom of the ''inner mind'' of children.
But hardliners in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party dislike the old education laws because they were made while Japan was under the 1945-1952 U.S.-led Allied occupation of the country. Chief cabinet secretary Shinzo Abe, favoured to succeed Koizumi as leader of the LDP in September, has argued that the fact that the old education laws have lasted more than 60 years only proves that ''we are still under the mind control of the occupation forces''.
The bill is unlikely to be opposed since it is not far different from a similar bill drafted earlier by the rival Democratic Party of Japan, which now leads the opposition in parliament.
Approving the changes in April, the government said the new bill was necessary to combat school truancy, breakdown in classroom teaching, increasing juvenile crime and social issues that proponents say can be linked to a lack of morality and public duty in Japan's postwar generation.
''Excessive individualism has resulted in a lack of social responsibility today which can be traced to a society in which people show no concern for each other and money is the benchmark for happiness. This is against the values that represent Japan,'' opined Yoshiko Sakurai, a respected writer with conservative leanings.
Others say Japan, once a nation with model students and youth, can now be described as a rudderless society. They believe that the hard-earned postwar economic success stands endangered because of unambitious youth interested solely in personal gratification and taking little pride in either their society or their country.
Indeed, a survey conducted by the Financial Services Council, earlier this month, revealed that one in four primary school children regarded money as the most important thing in life. The number of youth without jobs or not pursuing an education had reached over 640,000 and juvenile crime has reached a point where children have resorted to extortion and murder for money.
Miki Tanigaki, teacher of Japanese history at Musashino university, acknowledges the need for youth to be more aware of their own culture, but says he is worried that the revision, the first since 1947, could result in weakening the development of Japan's post-war democracy, established under allied occupation.
''The definition of patriotism remains a crucial consideration in the new bill which is still not clearly done,'' he said. ‘'While it is true that Japanese youth emulate American culture over their own, supplanting (what exists with) patriotism without understanding that the individual is a critical person, is dangerous,'' he told IPS.
Others say the talk of patriotism need not necessarily lead to a resurgence of the pre-war militarism of the 1930s. ‘' Rather, patriotism education will increase a sense of right and wrong in a society through Japanese traditions, an aspect that has been neglected,'' says Prof. Seishiro Sugihara, who teaches education at the same university.
At the core of the current debate are differing definitions of 'public'. Prof. Teruyaki Hirota, education expert at Tokyo University, says that in Japanese culture the concept of public is taken to mean giving the government and bureaucracy free rein to lead society.
Japanese pre-war society was heavily infused with Confucian ethics where filial piety and loyalty to family and country stood over individual rights, he said. ‘'There is an attempt now, by conservatives, to link the concept to narrow nationalism rather than to modern usage which is the growth of civil society," he explains.
Hirota referred to Koizumi's controversial visits to the Yasukuni shrine where the souls of 14 convcited Japanese war criminals are venerated, as well as new moves by the government to erase information in school text books about Japan's harsh colonial policies in East Asia.
Hirota says the new patriotism, as seen in the Diet, will only bring short-term benefits, if any. ‘'Indoctrinating young children with government views is not the answer. To deal with social disorder there must be emphasis on education reforms that nurture individual thinking and goals in order to meet the challenges of the changing world order.'' (END/2006)
European Politicians Condemn Gay Parade Violence in Moscow
Created: 29.05.2006 12:08 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 12:08 MSK
European politicians have expressed concern about violence during the protest by sexual minorities held in Moscow on May 27. The German Bundestag has already passed a resolution calling upon the Russian authorities to respect human rights. The mayor of Paris described the incident as an attack against basic democratic principles, Regnum news agency reports.
More than a hundred people were detained in the center of Moscow on Saturday.
A gay member of the German parliament, Volker Beck, who was there in support of local activists, was hit in the face with what looked like a brick, gaynz.com web-site reported Monday. Beck was briefly detained after the incident.
“I was attacked,” Beck told German television. “It shows we are not safe in this country. The security forces did not protect us but instead prevented us from retreating. We were left without any protection.”
A Canadian journalist was also assaulted by opponents of the parade.
An attempt by gays and lesbians to stage Moscow’s first gay pride parade, was broken up by police on Saturday. Activists were also heckled and assaulted by skinheads, Orthodox Christians and nationalists. Those participating in the parade were dragged away by riot police when they began speaking to reporters, whereas opponents of the parade, including a nationalist member of parliament, were allowed to speak and chant “Moscow is not Sodom,” The Washington Post reports.
Police said they had arrested about 120 people on Saturday, both supporters and opponents of the parade.
The deputy of German Bundestag Volker Beck (center) was injured during the unauthorized Gay Parade in Moscow.
Policeman and participants of unauthorized Gay parade in front of Moscow City Hall
Head of Gay-Russia.ru project Nikolay Alekseev (right) by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Alexander Garden.
Policemen detain a participant of the rally protesting against the gay parade in Moscow
The rally against Moscow's Gay parade
Evgenya Debryanskaya, leader of the Russian Lesbian Movement is arrested during the unauthorized Gay Parade in Moscow
Head of the Union of the Orthodox Gonfaloniers Leonid Simonovich-Nikshich (left) takes part in the rally protesting against Moscow's Gay parade.
Policeman and participants of the unauthorized rally protesting against Moscow's Gay parade
Paris Vice Mayor Clementine Autain attends a news conference dedicated to Moscow's Gay parade.
Police and Orthodox Christians Overwhelm Gay Parade
The Moscow police overwhelmed the first-ever Gay Parade in Moscow Saturday. Militant Orthodox Christians and ultranationalists violently protested against the march. European politicians lashed out at the Russian officials for flagrantly violating human rights.
Gays and lesbians from 20 countries came to Moscow last weekend for Moscow Pride 2006, the first gay march to be staged in Moscow. The place of the parade was kept in secret up to the last moment since Moscow city authorities banned the event, the Tverskoy court endorsed the decision while groups of radical Orthodox Christians promised to “punish sodomites.”
Nikolay Alexeev, one of the organizers of Pride 2006, reported that the participants of the festival would lay flowers to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Alexander Garden and then move to rally towards the monument of Yury Dolgoruky. The police, militant Orthodox Christians and young ultranationalists followed the march. The Union of Orthodox Gonfaloniers and other orthodox groups chanted “Moscow is not a Sodom!” while skin heads screamed “Death to fags!” and “Fags out of Russia!” OMON riot police did not seem to protect the marchers. Quite on the contrary, they rounded up a few activists, among them Nikolay Alexeev, Volkner Beck, a German Bundestag deputy and others.
Ultranationalists and militant Orthodox Christians followed the unauthorized march up to the monument of Yury Dolgoruky, crying out insults and throwing eggs and water at the participants. In the end, the orthodox people and radical nationalists prevailed.
Politicians all other Europe were outraged at the actions of the Russian authorities and their unwillingness to protect the marchers saying that Moscow encroached upon basic democratic principles and human rights.
Moscow Gay Activists Assaulted by Homophobes
Created: 29.05.2006 11:13 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 11:23 MSK
Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov could not have been more open and honest when he explained why he had banned a gay pride parade in the Russian capital. Such events “may be acceptable for some, in some sense, progressive countries in the West, but not for Russia”.
Russia has a long way to go indeed before it qualifies for membership in the club of civilized nations, being a place where skinheads do not need any official permit from the government to hit the streets on their violent rampage, whereas harmless gay activists arouse righteous indignation from the public.
What was to go down in history as Moscow’s first ever Pride March, timed to fall on the 13th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Russia, was broken up by police after skinheads and militant Orthodox Christians attacked gay and lesbian marchers, The Associated Press reported.
Witnesses, some of them foreigners, reported that police made no effort whatsoever to prevent the ultra-nationalist thugs from attacking a handful of gay rights activists who had arrived at the Alexander Garden just outside the Kremlin wall to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The Mayor ordered the gates to the garden locked, and women singing hymns and holding Orthodox iconography along with skinhead nationalists surged against the marchers. 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 Friday the pride march would never take place, at least not as long as he held office, and a local court upheld the ban.
Gay German Green MP, Volker Beck, who was there to support local activists, was hit in the face with what looked like a brick, with the cameras rolling, leaving passers-by in shock. “I was attacked,” Beck told German television. “It shows we are not safe in this country. The security forces did not protect us but instead prevented us from retreating. We were left without any protection.”
Police closed the entrance to the garden where the tomb is located, and the 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 stood by, AP correspondent reported.
“We were expecting this. It is the authorities who are allowing this to happen,” said a woman holding a limp red carnation, who identified herself only as Anna, a lesbian.
Gay and lesbian rights activists had defied the city’s ban against the Pride March, with supporters from across Europe joining them as they attempted to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier — a Russian symbol of anti-fascism.
British activist Peter Tatchell, of the London-based gay rights group OutRage was incensed. “As soon as we were arrived here we were set upon by fascist gangs and police. Today is a great shame for Russia because a peaceful protest has been suppressed.”
Interfax reported that riot police detained around 100 people.
Tourists and locals stared in disbelief as events unfolded — just a stone’s throw from the Kremlin and the heart of historical Moscow. Some gay activists had urged that the march be cancelled so as not to inflame tensions, the Reuters news agency reported.
Homosexuality has been legal in Russia since 1993, but widespread homophobia, fuelled by ultra-nationalism and spurred on by the Russian Orthodox Church has seen violence against gays and lesbians increase, especially in Moscow.
Gay activists who arrived at the Kremlin wall on Saturday meant no harm. All they sought was to attract public attention to their problems in a country where the powers that be do not conceal their homophobic attitude.
To many in Russia, homosexuality is still worse than violent fascism. They turn a blind eye to racists attacking people who do not look quite Russian to them. These are people who attack in broad daylight wielding steel rods and knives, who kill and get away with it in most cases and if they do not are accused merely of hooliganism as law enforcers seek to assure the public there is no such thing as racial hatred in the country.
Last year, on the occasion of People’s Unity Day, marked on November 4 since 2005, hundreds of neo-imperialists took part in the “Right March” chanting slogans such as “The Russians Are Coming”, “Glory to Russia, Glory to Empire” and “Russia for the Russians.”
The primary backers of the demonstration were the Eurasian Youth Union (ESM), a branch of the Eurasian Movement headed by Aleksandr Dugin; the Movement Against Illegal Immigration; the National Statist Party; Pamyat (Memory); and other similar organizations.
Neither Moscow local authorities, nor the federal government took any steps to ban or disperse the xenophobic crowd.
By the time of the start of the gay pride rally last Saturday, over 100 youths were standing in the square opposite the mayor’s office, chanting the slogan: “Glory to Russia!” Several trampled a rainbow-colored ribbon — the symbol of gay rights — into the ground.
“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 the woman who gave only her first name, Irina.
How far will these people go in their righteous intent to “cleanse the world”? “We must stop them at this first stage, or they’ll corrupt our children,” protester Kirill Bolgarin told the Reuters news agency.
Most societies have long recognized same-sex relationships and no longer treat those who practice them as perverts. But Russia is different. Russia, indeed, is “not as progressive”.
Earlier this month, Luzhkov was denounced as homophobic by the U.S.-based group Human Rights Watch. Luzhkov features on a list of public officials that Human Rights Watch says have actively promoted prejudice against homosexuals. Others on the list, produced to coincide with the International Day Against Homophobia, which was marked on May 17, include Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo and Dutch Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk.
Of course, some progress has been made over the past decade. Homosexuals in this country are no longer treated as criminals and are not thrown behind bars. But when it comes to their rights, — ’perverts’ have no rights.
Homophobia is widespread not only among senior officials and those who call themselves “Christians” and “patriots”. Many ordinary Russians think the same. Many Russians I know personally express no pity or support for gay activists. “No-one would have hurt them if they had just stayed at home. After all, they can go on campaigning on their websites,” a colleague remarked.
The US Rainbow Sash Movement (Lesbian/Gay Catholics) Condemns the Violence That is Being Promoted Against Lesbian and Gay People in Both Russia and Poland
CHICAGO, May 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the Eastern Church and Western Church have failed to uphold the Gospel call of Jesus Christ by promoting violence against Gay/Lesbian people. In Catholic Poland we are witnessing the same views and behaviors that promoted anti-Semitism, only now it is being promoted against Gay and Lesbian People. Gay and Lesbian People are being bullied and attacked in the streets. In Moscow the circus of Orthodox religious leaders promoting violence against Gays and Lesbians reminds us also of the dark days of anti-Semitic behavior of hate. Lesbians and Gays wish to have a Gay Pride Parade in Moscow, why the violence over this?
Both religious communities inhabit different moral universes, avoiding the challenge of understanding and communicating with Gay and Lesbians. Both Catholic and Orthodox leadership's mindsets are unthinking prejudice, or a rationalization for the desire to control others. They operate out of fear and a theology of lies.
We are calling on the World Council of Churches to raise their voice in the protection of innocent gay and lesbian lives. You can no longer sit on the fence; either you support the gospel call to respect all life with dignity and love, or you do not.
Gay and Lesbian Catholics now understand how hallow are the words of the Vatican that all Gay and Lesbian Catholics must be treated with dignity and respect, because of their silence on this matter. We call on our brothers and sisters in both Russia and Poland to protect their lives, and be safe. Yours and ours is a just cause. We will hold you in our hearts as we enter Catholic Cathedrals on Pentecost Sunday across the United States.
To find out more about the Rainbow Sash Movement and how you can join us please visit our web site at http://www.rainbowsashmovement.com, or
email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gay Pride Events in Moscow Erupts in Violence: Moscow Militia Fails to Ensure - ILGA Europe