Moscow Gay Pride Physically Attacked by Fascists
Dozens of Pride Participants Arrested
Call the Russian Embassy to Protest!
Yesterday a second annual attempt to hold a gay pride march in Moscow was met with violence and arrests. Even though the violence was carried out by fascist thugs like those pictured below, these street brawlers were given encouragement by religious leaders and politicians.
The mayor of Moscow called the gay rights marchers "satanic," while local Christian, Muslim and Jewish chief clerics condemned homosexuality and gays in harsh terms and heavily lobbied the government to deny our side a permit for the march. As New York's Gay City News noted, "The newspaper Kommersant reported on May 16 that representatives from Orthodox Christian organizations had said that they would 'spill gay blood' if the Pride parade were permitted."
Fascist thugs, some carrying Russian Orthodox icons and crosses, cried "death to homosexuals." They threw eggs and punches at Gay Pride participants who had assembled to present a demand to Moscow's mayor that the right of peaceful assembly be afforded gays in the nation's capital. Even though it was the fascists who attacked people, only Pride participants were arrested, according to one report. Some of the Pride participants suffered the indignity of being injured and arrested in the bargain, though fortunately none of the injuries were life-threatening.
As of this writing, two Pride participants are still imprisoned, and we can't help but be concerned for their physical safety. The Gay Liberation Network encourages all who read this message to contact the Russian government to demand their immediate release.
The following are telephone numbers for the Embassy: (202) 298-5700, (202) 939-8907, (202) 939-8913, (202) 939-8918, and (202) 939-8911 Call between 9 AM and 12:30 PM, and 2:30 PM and 6 PM, Monday thru Friday. If you would like to fax a letter of protest, the fax numbers are: (202) 483-7579 and (202) 298-5735
Outside pressure played an important role in recently securing the right of LGBT people to march in Warsaw, Poland. Therefore we encourage our readers to not only call and demand the release of the Pride participants, but also insist that Russian authorities arrest the fascist thugs and secure the right of our people to assemble and demonstrate for their rights.
As one of the injured, British activist Peter Tatchell, told the on-line magazine 365Gay following his release from jail: "There is no rule of law in Moscow. The right to protest does not exist. This is not a democracy... Today's protest was about much more than gay rights. We were defending the right to freedom of expression and peaceful protest for all Russians, gay and straight."