Current Affairs

Met investigate assault on Moscow pride activist

Tony Grew March 5, 2007
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The Metropolitan police have confirmed that they are investigating an alleged assault at London’s City Hall on Nicolas Alexeyev, the organiser of Moscow Pride.

Last Wednesday, the mayors of London, Paris, Berlin and Moscow held their annual meeting.

Yuri Luzhkov, the Moscow mayor, was asked several questions at a press conference about his decision to ban Moscow Pride last year and his vow not to allow the event to take place this year.

Mr Alexeyev exclusively told last week that after the press conference, he was pushed and threatened by Mr Luzhkov’s press officer when he attempted to fly a Moscow Pride banner in the press room.

Mr Luzhkov was giving an interview to the Russian TV media at the time, but other Russian crews captured the incident on camera.

“I was about two or three metres behind Luzhkov, and then in a very rude and violent way his press officer approached me, pushed me away and told me to take down my flag. I said ‘you are not here to administer this press conference,” Mr Alexeyev said.

“Then he took the flag from me violently. Then security came and they pushed him from me and basically I was able to continue to stay as I was with the flag.”

City Hall staff quickly seperated the two men.

The incident has been played on Russian television.

“Russian media reporting of the protest has been very beneficial. It

has put gay rights on the political agenda in Moscow,” said Mr


“The TV and press coverage has generated a big public debate. It is

helping to break down homophobic attitudes.”

A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan police said:

“Police are investigating an allegation of assault on the 28th February in SE1. There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.”

Mr Alexeyev said he intends to pursue the matter.

“If in Russia people of such high standing get away in such incidents, in Britain there is a slightly different perception of law abiding. Next time staff of Moscow Mayor will think many times before to breach the law,” he told

“Before Mr. Tsoi used homophobic statements and now he is underpinning them with actions in front of all the media, which means he feels more and more untouchable.”

The Moscow mayor is facing a lawsuit from Mr Alexeyev, after he called gay people “satanic.”

Mr Luzhkov’s decision to ban last year’s Pride march is to be challenged before the European Court of Human Rights later this year, and his pledge to ban this year’s march will be challenged in the Russian courts.

Mr Alexeyev has vowed that the Pride event will go ahead on May 27th, and has urged LGBT people from across the world to come to Moscow to show their support.

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