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From Russia, with Pride

Moscow Pride

For the first time ever, a gay pride march has taken place in Moscow without the marchers being assaulted or arrested (or both).

You may recall previous attempts to have Gay Pride marches in the Russian capital. In 2007, they marched to celebrate the 14th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality. From all accounts, the Moscow police held back long enough for Neo Nazis to beat several marchers senseless, and then took over themselves.

Moscow Pride 2007 is one of the reasons UK activist Peter Tatchell has permanent brain damage.

Finally on May 29, 2010, a successful parade was held. It lasted fewer than 10 minutes, and in order to avoid police or protest interference, they released a false location (the Office of the European Commission) at a press event on May 27th. Despite the mayor banning the parade, and the violence that many of the activists have experienced over the years, it went ahead.

The group chose some journalists to bring along with them. In order to retain the secrecy of the location they met the journalists at a pre-arranged location and walked around with them for several hours until the parade was about to start and all the marchers and activists suddenly converged on a single location.

The 20 metre flag they carried along their parade route was made in Minsk. They route they took started at Belarusakaya train station (that links Moscow and Minsk) and they travelled along the route to St. Petersburg. The route was symbolic of the connection between Minsk, Moscow and St. Petersburg, as they are all members of Slavic Pride, an alliance conceived in 2009 by Russian and Belarusian activists.

American activist Andy Thayer had this to say about the efforts Russian activists have made over the years, and the lack of help coming from the embassies of more liberal countries.

After nearly five years’ experience organizing Pride events despite government bans and unofficial threats of violence, Moscow Pride activists run a very tight ship.  They made direct appeals to the ambassadors of the United States, Canada, France, Denmark, Germany, Britain, The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Belgium and the European Union. “All responded negatively,” said Alekseev.

Of course none of them said the rejections came because of the economic power that Russia wields.  “We already organized everything with the Danish,” said Alekseev. “It was just a question of who was going to cook during the party, and then they sent us an email” revoking the invitation.

The French said “’Our embassy is the house of human rights. You can find yourselves welcome here,’ but as soon as I asked them about hosting a pride reception in the grounds of the embassy, they said, ‘No, no, we cannot do it for a particular organization.’ Almost the same reply came from the ambassador of the European Union.”

So here we are less than 24 hours before Moscow Pride, the Western embassies’ cowardice on full display in contrast to the courage of Russian and Belorussian gay activists.  When Moscow Pride occurs tomorrow, it will be no thanks to the “freedom loving” Western governments.
from GayRussia.ru

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8 Comments

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by GFEST, GFEST, GFEST, gay icon, Niranjan Kamatkar and others. Niranjan Kamatkar said: From Russia, with Pride : first time the march in Moscow, without any assaults or arrests http://bit.ly/cLwxr6 [...]

    Tweets that mention From Russia, with Pride : first time the march in Moscow, without any assaults or arrests -- Topsy.com said:
  • Wow, I have been involved in organising Dublin Pride for the last few years and I just can’t imagine having to go to all these lengths to march for 10 minutes.  It is a wonderful show of defiance and pride, well done to all those who attended.
    The responses from the various embassies is a disgrace

    Gooner said:
  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by GFEST, GFEST, GFEST, gaelick, gay icon and others. gay icon said: From Russia, with Pride : first time the march in Moscow, without any assaults or arrests http://bit.ly/cLwxr6 [...]

    Tweets that mention From Russia, with Pride | gaelick -- Topsy.com said:
  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by GFEST, GFEST, GFEST, gaelick, Joan O'Connell and others. Joan O'Connell said: #moscowpride "When Moscow Pride occurs tomorrow, it will be no thanks to the “freedom loving” Western govts" http://www.gaelick.com/?p=9162 [...]

    Tweets that mention From Russia, with Pride | gaelick -- Topsy.com said:
  • I can’t understand why the embassies won’t stand up for equality. We’re talking about some pretty liberal countries.

    CanuckJacq (author) said:
  • Yeah, clearly their relations with Russia take precedence over their liberal attitudes and how they value basic human rights.

    click here said:
  • [...] – have in recent years cracked down, often violently, on attempts to hold Pride marches. This year’s Pride march took place only due to the organisers releasing false details of the [...]

    Attempt to ban gay and lesbian rights group from UN | gaelick said:
  • [...] was banned. Several of us were arrested,” and setting a pattern that would continue until this year’s successful bait-and-switch, “there was a lot of [...]

    Moscow Pride 2011: You are invited | gaelick said:
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