Russian gay campaigners to protest against homophobic mayor

Jessica Geen September 20, 2010
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Gay rights activists in Moscow will hold an unauthorised protest outside the city hall tomorrow to condemn homophobic mayor Yuri Luhzkov.

Moscow authorities denied permission for the march last week, saying that the area would be too busy and the pavements were narrowed.

However, following the apparent abuction of gay rights leader Nikolai Alekseev by Russian security agents last week, the activists said the protest would go ahead anyway.

The protest, at 6pm local time, will call for Mr Luhzkov to be jailed and for a full investigation into Mr Alekseev’s detention.

He was taken from a Moscow airport last Wednesday and held in an unknown location for more than two days by men who urged him to give up his legal challenges against Mr Luhzkov for banning gay Pride marches.

Mr Alekseev does not know why he was detained or who was responsible, although he has linked the incident to “obscure political games” around the mayor’s future.

Mr Luzhkov is currently battling for his political life and has been on holiday over the weekend. The reason for his absence was officially to celebrate his birthday but Kremlin sources have said he is thinking about his future.

Russian media have accused him of corruption and president Dmitry Medvedev is believed to want Mr Luzhkov removed from his job.

The mayor has called gays “satanic” in the past and has refused to allow Pride marches.

In May 2006, more than 120 people were arrested and in 2007, British gay activist Peter Tatchell was severely beaten by neo-Nazis. In 2008, marchers accused police of brutality.

More: Europe

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