Court rejects Moscow Pride appeal
Moscow City Court has upheld a ban on a gay rights march in the city last year.
Organisers have vowed to fight on and are taking their case to the Russian Supreme Court, where they hope to receive a more “objective” ruling.
Today’s decision is the latest in a string of court actions regarding last year’s events.
In May 2006 the first Pride march in the city was beset by violence and police intimidation after Moscow’s mayor Yuri Luzhkov refused to grant a permit.
Mayor Luzhkov said earlier this year that he will never allow a gay parade to take place in Moscow, and called gay people “Satanic.”
Moscow Pride organiser Nicolas Alexeyev and others suing the mayor over his comments.
In addition to demanding a retraction, parade organisers are also seeking 1,000 roubles (£19) each in compensation for moral damage.
They have also formally started proceedings at the European Court of Human Rights concerning last year’s Pride.
A 20-page application to the European Court has been made in relation to two separate issues: the ban by Moscow authorities of the gay pride march and the banning of the alternative Pride picket, both scheduled for May 27, 2006. Organisers are seeking 20,000 euros (£13,500) compensation.
Mr Alexeyev said that a May 2007 Pride event will definitely be going ahead, and that an application for a parade will be made in accordance with Russian law.
Mr Alexeyev told PinkNews.co.uk:
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“It is about the future, in which the rights of homosexual people will be acknowledged and respected and where they will not be second class citizens without fundamental rights.”
Last year over 120 people, including a German MP, were arrested during the chaotic scenes as gay campaigners from all over the world converged in the Russian capital.
They were met by religious and nationalist protesters chanting anti-gay slogans and 1,000 riot police with orders to stop demonstrations in Red Square.
Arrests were made after a group of activists, including Mr Alexeyev, attempted to lay flowers at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a war memorial, equating the struggle for gay rights with fighting fascism.
Eyewitnesses said gay activists were beaten by protesters.
Moscow Pride 2007 will take place on Sunday May 27, marking the day in 1993 when homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia.