Russian Consulate picketed
London – 2 March 2006
Demonstrators picketed the Russian consulate in London today 2
March), in protest at the ban on the Moscow Gay Pride parade by the
Mayor of Moscow. They also condemned the threats of violence against
the Pride marchers by Russian religious leaders.
Today’s London protest coincided with simultaneous protests Paris,
Stockholm, Vienna and Warsaw.
The protest in London was coordinated by the organisers of the
International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), together with the gay
human rights group OutRage! and the Gay & Lesbian Humanist
Other groups supporting the protest included the Lesbian & Gay
Christian Movement, Pride London and EuroPride, Amnesty
International's LGBT group, Gay.com, The British Humanist Association,
The National Secular Society, the Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group, The
Green Party, the Gay Business Association, Gay to Z Directories, The
International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, Labour Campaign for
Lesbian and Gay Rights, DELGA (The Lib Dem LGBT group) and Red
Protest coordinator, Derek Lennard, of the Gay & Lesbian Humanist
Association , who is the UK coordinator of the International Day
Against Homophobia, said:
“The ban on Moscow Gay Pride is outrageous censorship. It is a
violation of the Russian constitution. Regardless of the wishes of the
Mayor of Moscow and bigoted religious leaders, Moscow Gay Pride will
go ahead in May. If necessary, we will help the Russian gay movement
challenge this ban in the courts.
“We extend our solidarity to Russian lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender people. Their struggle is our struggle,” said Mr Lennard.
Peter Tatchell of the gay human rights group, OutRage!, added:
“The Mayor of Moscow says he supports democracy. We ask him to prove
it by giving the go ahead to Moscow Gay Pride. Democracy means
respecting the rights of minorities.
“Who does Luzhkov think he is? Joseph Stalin? Someone should remind
Yuri that the anti-gay Soviet Union is dead. Russia is a democracy and
in a democracy people have a right to protest peacefully.
“These attempts by Russian state and religious leaders to suppress
Moscow Gay Pride are a throwback to the bad old days of czarist and
communist totalitarianism. No amount of threats and intimidation by
the Mayor of Moscow, the Chief Mufti or the Chief Rabbi will stop the
gay freedom struggle in Russia. The right to sexual self-determination
and the right to protest are fundamental human rights that every
democratic nation must respect,” added Mr Tatchell.
The Moscow Gay Pride parade is scheduled to take place on 27 May, the
anniversary of the 1993 abolition of Soviet era laws against male
Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov has announced that the city government will
not allow a gay parade “in any form” and any attempt to hold a gay
event will be “resolutely quashed.”
The Mayor’s diktat follows statements by the Russian Chief Mufti
threatening violence if the Pride parade went ahead.
Chief Mufti of Russia’s Central Spiritual Governance for Muslims
Talgat Tajuddin said:
“Muslims’ protests can be even worse than these notorious rallies
abroad over the scandalous cartoons,” Chief Mufti of Russia’s Central
Spiritual Governance for Muslims.
“The parade should not be allowed, and if they still come out into the
streets, then they should be bashed.
“Sexual minorities have no rights, because they have crossed the line.
Alternative sexuality is a crime against God,” Talgat Tajuddin said.
Tajuddin then called on Russian Orthodox members to join Muslims in
formulating a violent response to Moscow Pride.
A spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church, which has since lobbied
the Moscow Mayor to ban the parade, spoke out against Moscow Pride,
telling various media outlets that homosexuality is a "sin which
destroys human beings and condemns them to a spiritual death."
Not to be left out, Russian Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar said that if a gay
pride was allowed to go ahead it "would be a blow for morality". He
stopped short of calling for violence, but the Jewish community would
not stand by silently. "Sexual perversions", he said, did not have a
right to exist. Lazar said that gay pride marches were “a provocation”
similar to cartoon depictions of Mohammed.
Moscow Pride organisers, meanwhile, have said that attempts to prevent
the march will be challenged with court action, if necessary, all the
way to the European Court of
Human Rights in Strasbourg.
More Europe-wide vigils and marches are planned in the coming weeks to
protest against attempts by the Moscow government and religious
leaders to stop the Pride celebrations going ahead.
Russian gay and lesbian activists announced in July that they would
apply for a permit to hold pride celebrations in Moscow in May. If it
is granted, it would be the first Gay Pride parade ever held in the
Many well known gay rights campaigners from around the world will
attend Moscow gay Pride, including the British gay campaigners Michael
Cashman MEP, Peter Tatchell of OutRage! and UK IDAHO co-ordinator
Other prominent attendees are the Deputy Mayor of Paris and several
members of the European Parliament.
Over 250 representatives from more than 30 countries will attend the
simultaneous Moscow International Gay Festival from 25 to 27 May. This
festival will feature a series of lectures by Merlin Holland, the
grandson of Oscar Wilde, and a day of “Russian and Scandinavian
Moscow Pride is a week after the start of the Russian Presidency in
the Council of Europe and just before the summit of G8 leaders in St
Petersburg. President Putin has not commented on Pride or the threats
of violence from religious leaders.
For further information:
Derek Lennard, IDAHO 07xxx xxxxxx
Peter Tatchell, OutRage! 02xxx xxxxxx
For photos of the demo, see:
The IDAHO-UK website is at: www.idaho-uk.org
The international IDAHO website is www.idahomophobia.org
For more information, email Derek Lennard at info-at-idaho-uk-dot-org
For info about Manchester events, email manchester-at-idaho-uk-dot-org