Yuri Luzhkov bans Moscow Gay Pride
Gays are “satanic,” “unnatural” and “deviations”
The Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, will face gay rights protesters, headed by Peter Tatchell of OutRage! and Russian gay leader Nikolai Alekseev, when he meets London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, at City Hall, London, tomorrow, Wednesday, 28 February, at 11.30am. Also present at the mayoral meeting will be the Mayors of Berlin and Paris.
The notoriously homophobic Mayor of Moscow has denounced same-sex relationships and gay pride events as “satanic”, “unnatural”, “deviations”, “blasphemy” and “deadly moral poison.”
He recently announced that he was banning the 2007 Moscow Gay Pride parade, scheduled for 27 May. Last year’s march was also banned and some marchers were beaten, tear-gassed and arrested by the Moscow riot police, the OMON.
Nikolai Alekseev, organiser of Moscow Gay Pride, has flown to London to join the protest. He will speak in London tonight (Tuesday) at the 10th anniversary celebrations of Amnesty International’s LGBT human rights campaign.
Mr Alekseev is currently appealing to the European Court of Human Rights against Mayor Luzhkov’s ban on last year’s Moscow Gay Pride. He is also suing the Mayor of Moscow for libel after the Mayor in January this year labeled Moscow Gay Pride as “satanic”.
“We appeal to the Mayors of London, Paris and Berlin to protest to Luzhkov against his ban on Moscow Gay Pride. Whatever the stance of the Moscow Mayor, we are going ahead with plans for a second Moscow Gay Pride on 27 May,” said Mr Alekseev.
“We know Mr Luzhkov feels more and more isolated from other European leaders. He is concerned about his public image in the West and how this might affect western investment and cultural relations with Moscow. He is vulnerable to pressure,” added Mr Alekseev.
OutRage! is coordinating Wednesday’s picket outside City Hall in protest at the Moscow Mayor.
Nikolai Alekseev, Organiser of Moscow Gay Pride, has issued a statement in advance of Wednesday’s protest at City Hall in London:
“Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov routinely breaches Russia’s constitution and laws, and the European Convention, by depriving gay people of their right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.
“The real reason behind the ban of the first ever Moscow Gay Pride, held in May 2006, is not because the Mayor is concerned for the security of the participants, as he claims. The ban is motivated by his deep-rooted hatred toward homosexual people.
“Recently the Moscow Mayor said that ‘gay parades are nothing else but satanic’ and promised to ban this year’s Moscow Gay Pride march, scheduled for May, 27.
“The legal case against the ban of the first gay pride in the Russian capital is now pending before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Due to the length of the procedures, the decision will not be handed down before the Moscow Gay Pride march this year.
“Mr. Luzhkov frequently uses insulting statements against homosexual people in his speeches. He uses every possible vile argument to discredit the LGBT movement and incite hatred towards LGBT people.
“In May last year, the homophobic hysteria of the Moscow Mayor led to massive violations of the rights of homosexual people in Russia. He gave a carte blanche to fascists, ultra-nationalists and religious extremists to attack gay people without fear of being punished.
“On Tuesday and Wednesday this week Mayor Luzhkov is going to be in London – a city renowned for its respect for democratic values and freedom. He will be meeting the openly gay Mayors of Paris and Berlin, as well as the gay-friendly Mayor of London. This is probably our last international opportunity to raise the issue of homophobia by Moscow Mayor at such a high level.
“We know Mr Luzhkov feels more and more isolated from other European leaders. He is concerned about his public image in the West and how this might affect western investment and cultural relations with Moscow. He is vulnerable to pressure.
“The organisers of Moscow Gay Pride appeal to our friends in London to join Wednesday’s protest at City Hall against the homophobic Mayor of Moscow, to show him that homophobes are not tolerated in Britain.
“We need your help to prevent further violations of the rights of gay people in Moscow in May this year
“We appeal to the Mayors of London, Paris and Berlin to protest to Luzhkov against his ban on Moscow Gay Pride. Whatever the stance of the Moscow Mayor, we are going ahead with plans for a second Moscow Gay Pride on 27 May,” concluded Mr Alekseev.