Russian Police Vow To Break Up Tommorow’s Slavic Pride March

Jim Burroway

May 15th, 2009

Moscow authorities have vowed to clamp down on any gay pride march which LGBT advocates try to hold on Saturday. Organizers of Slavic Gay Pride had planned on holding a march on Saturday to coincide with the high visibility of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, which is being held in Moscow. The Dutch contestants have already threatened to boycott the Eurovision Finals if the Gay Pride march is not allowed to go ahead. the French Eurovision delegation have announced their intent to join the march while displaying their Eurovision credentials. U.K. LGBT activist Peter Tatchell has also arrived in Moscow to participate in Pride activities.

According to continually-updated reports at UK Gay News, Slavic Gay Pride organizers have gone into hiding as police try to track them down and arrest them. One Moscow daily has reported that police are planning to arrest Moscow Pride leader Nikolai Alekseev. For his part, Alekseev isn’t deterred. Speaking from his secret location, he declared:

Nikolai Alekseev

Nikolai Alekseev

“Everyone is very excited about tomorrow and more than ever ready to go in the street despite the threats reported by the Moscow police tonight. It is just hard to believe that despite we are organizing the action for the 4th time, we have this year 55 activists from several regions of Russia and Belarus who checked in for the event and who since Thursday are just working on it and who more than everything want to march tomorrow.  For the forth time, we are just showing to Russian that gays and lesbians are not cowards and that they are not scared to march for their rights. And looking at the high number of reports in the Russian media, the message is delivered!”

The situation is getting very tense. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in UK has issued a “travel advisory” for LGBT visitors in Moscow. Russian Nationalists have already announced their own brand of an “ex-gay cure”:

Russian nationists are threatening to “cure” anyone who takes part in Saturday’s Slavic Gay Pride Parade in Moscow. “We will cure them for sure. We will help them to the hospital to be treated by the doctors. They are ill people,” Alexei Samsonov, a right-wing activist, told Reuters.

Last year’s Moscow Pride was conducted in a similarly clandestine manner, as Alekseev and other activists pulled off several different Pride activities while Moscow police scampered like Keystone cops. In 2007, an unauthorized march ended in violence and massive arrests.

GreenEyedLilo

May 15th, 2009

Thank you for sharing this. Gods, how horrible. It makes me far more grateful for American LGBTs’ relative freedoms. It makes me even more grateful than ever that my wife, who is Russian, is over here.

Dave Hughes

May 15th, 2009

The courage and fortitude of these people is truly inspirational!

Swampfox

May 16th, 2009

Certainly Russian psychiatrists recognize that sexual orientation is not a mental illness. And, this is just thuggery playing-out in Russia?

Swampfox

May 16th, 2009

Well, I just read that the police did exactly what they said that they would do. They broke up the march and arrested many of them. There is a huge concert tonight in Moscow. With artists from all over Europe. They need to show some support for the GLBT protesters.

Timothy (TRiG)

May 16th, 2009

Russia is outside the EU, but still under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights, which has a fairly good record at protecting people against government oppression of various kinds.

Let’s see how far this story goes.

TRiG.

----

May 16th, 2009

The Soviet Union may be over, but there’s still no real freedom in Russia. The Russian Orthodox church only replaced the Communist Party.

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