Saturday, 16 May 2009

Disgrace in Moscow - police violently break up gay rights march, activists detained

They've done it in past. Today was no exception. Even Eurovision finale did not change Moscow authorities' homophobia.

Reports are coming from Moscow that police violently dispersed small march by Russian and Belorussian gay activists, detaining them, as well as other international human rights campaigners, including a prominent British activist Peter Tatchell, who were in Moscow to express their support for local campaigners.

I've been tweeting updates on my Twitter page.

Interestingly, Peter Tatchell breaks the news on his arrest and then release via his Twitter page, which I follow:

Just been released from Moscow police station -

Arrested. Shortest march I've ever been on.

Well that didn't take long. Within 5mn 20 activists arrested by riot police in front of world's media, including organiser Nikolai Alekseev

Not necessarily a boycott (as per below), but I'd like to see some show of solidarity by Eurovision performers and delegations.

Pride organisers call on performers to boycott Eurovision
(via Peter Tatchell human rights campaign Facebook group)

40 arrested as Moscow anti-riot police use violence to break up Slavic Pride march

Moscow – 16th May

Sources from Moscow have reported that police have used violent and oppressive tactics to break up the peaceful Slavic Pride march in the city.

The march had been outlawed by Moscow city authorities, but permission had been given for counter-demonstrations by far right ultra-nationalists.

Between 35 and 40 Russian LGBT activists have been arrested, including British human rights activist Peter Tatchell and Chicago LGBT activist Andy Thayer. Pride organiser Nikolai Alekseev was held down by 5 fully armed riot police and arrested.

European Embassy diplomats witnessed the violence are said to be planning a joint diplomatic action.

Slavic Pride organisers have called on the artists and performers of Eurovision to boycott tonight’s showpiece event in solidarity with the beaten and arrested protesters.

Organiser Nikolai Alekseev said

“I call upon all of the artists who are due to perform at tonight’s Eurovision to boycott tonight’s event and send a message that Russia’s state oppression of human rights is not acceptable.

“The Russian Government is using this years Eurovision in Moscow as a gala showpiece to show the world how far the country has improved since the early 1990’s. However, what was witnessed this afternoon on the streets of Moscow shows the world just how little Russia has travelled when it comes to supporting fundamental human rights.

“The police brutality that we witnessed here this afternoon is shocking. We planned a peaceful march to highlight the dire state of LGBT rights in Russia today. The police, given violent legitimacy by the openly homophobic Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, did not hold back with their weapons, despite the world’s media watching.

“We were defending the often violated human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Russians. We demand the same legal protection against discrimination and hate crimes that none LGBT people enjoy.

“This episode has shamed the Russian Government and Moscow authorities before the world.”

*photo - by SkyNews, and by AP (via The Independent)


artmika said...

Austrian Television (ORF) post raw news footage of some of the arrests of gay activists in Moscow.

Latest news from Moscow re gay march and detentions - here.

artmika said...

One vote from me to Sweden at Eurovision final. Malena Ernman 'is gay today' in solidarity with Russia gays

Anonymous said...

Among the arrested is apparently also a journalist for a Dutch gay magazine as reported by several leading Dutch newspapers and confirmed by the magazine's editor in chief.

artmika said...

As per the latest info , all activists detained by the Moscow police at yesterday's gay march have been released.

artmika said...

Hundreds of gay activists marched today in St. Petersburg to mark International Day Against Homophobia. Police did not interfere. What a stark contrast with Moscow... Details