Current Affairs

Religious Russians cleanse river of gay contamination

Joe Roberts June 27, 2007
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Members of a Russian Orthodox Organisation claim to have cleansed the Moscow River, the day after a gay cruise ship sailed down it.

200 members of the Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods took to the waters, using the slogan “We are Russians, God is with us.”

With them they carried Royal national Flags and pictures of Saints.

Taking the same boat and route as gay cruisers had only hours earlier, spokesman, Yuri Ageshchev, said one of their aims was to cleanse “the filth that filled the river after the trip of a big company of homosexuals.”

Earlier this month, around 50 people of a Russian religious group also gathered to “reclaim” a park they claim is used by gay men as a meeting place

The activists said they would ask people they suspect are gay to leave the park during their nightly patrols.

The Ilyinskiye Vorota square has a small park and statues to Russian war heroes.

A spokeswoman for a Russian Orthodox youth group told Intelfax they wanted to target gay men:

“They boldly demonstrate their non-traditional orientation, persuading everyone that it is normal.

“We believe that it is a vice and want to remove all this from this site, which is sacred to Russians.”

The Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, banned last month’s gay Pride march, and has made a string of homophobic statements in the past few years.

When gay activists tried to deliver a letter of protest to his office last month, they were pelted with eggs and assaulted by a small mob of anti-gay Russians.

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