Russian police break up Moscow's first gay pride march

Jim Jepps


Moscow Pride 06Dozens of gay rights demonstrators have been arrested in Moscow for attending the city's first ever gay pride march.

The march was to be part of the celebrations of the anniversary of 13 years since Russia decriminalised homosexuality but there is still resistance from the most backward sections of Russian society, particularly the government and Church leaders. There were anti-gay demonstrations and many eye witnesses have claimed that a number of gay rights activists were viciously attacked.

A Canadian reporter, Ellen Pinchuk, said the police "were more interested in arresting members of the gay and lesbian community than those who had come there to beat them up"

The BBC reported that "Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said he had banned the march because he believed homosexuality was not natural and because the event would cause outrage in society - a position supported by many Christian and Muslim groups. He said that as long as he was mayor he would not allow such events to take place."

Prior to the demonstration the mayor had made clear that gay rights demonstrations will be "resolutely quashed" and it's clear that far right demonstrators were allowed almost free reign to attack marches.

Challenging the widespread homophobia in Russia is not going to be easy and there have been a number of violent anti-gay protests in recent times. The government can ban marches and the Nazis and church leaders can promote physical attacks on gay people but none of them can turn back the tide of history.


May 2006

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