Monday, May 01, 2006

Russia: Protests Stop Moscow Gay Party

On Sunday, right-wing protesters in Moscow stopped a gay party in the centre of the city, BBC reports. A gathering of skinheads and elderly women amassed outside the club entrance hindering and threatening party organisers to go through with the party.

The news comes as a cold shower to the Russian gay movement, just weeks before local authorities are to rule whether to allow the first Moscow gay pride parade. Mayor Luzhkov and many other influential politicians have previosly tried to ban the parade on 27 May, attracting international protests by doing so for violating the right civil rights. As a definite ruling is pending, Sunday's protest must be seen as an attempt to influence the decision whether to allow Moscow pride or not. It also serves as testimony to the influence of extremist views in Russia in comparison to advocates of tolerance. It remains to be seen whether the gay parade will be carried through and if so, whether yesterday's action will transform into violent protests on 27 May.


Anonymous said...

something like that happened 3 years ago in Kiev during "Race for Life" marathon. Groups of gay activists were attacked by skin-heads and grandmas. As far as I remember, there was no violence. However, what was disappointing that quite strong and solid gay businesses (bars and discos) stayed away from this action, while they could support the inspirations of their clientele... How many of gays in closet working in Parliament, government structures and huge companies. We'd surprised with such revelations.

Vilhelm Konnander said...

Dear Cherolex,

Very interesting to hear about the Kiev events three years ago. You have also probably heard about the recent problems in Warzaw. Fear and prejudice against gay people is, I am sorry to say, an endemic problem to Central and Eastern Europe. I guess the percentage of the population that is gay is no less than in other parts of the world. Tolerance towards them is much less than elsewhere though. My interest in the issue is - except from a civil rights perspective - how the attitude towards gay people indicate the general climate of society towards freedom and democracy. Here, Russia and others have a lot of problems to address. It will thus be interesting to see how it turns out with Moscow Pride '06 and similar events elsewhere.