Peter Tatchell (far right) in Moscow. (Pic: Chad Meacham)
Organisers of tomorrow’s Moscow Gay Pride Parade are determined to hold the event, even if it remains banned by the authorities.
They have launched a legal bid to overturn the city’s ban on the parade, but say that will go ahead whatever the ruling.
“We will organise the gay pride parade regardless of whether the authorities allow us or not”, Nikolai Alekseyev, the event’s organiser, told The Moscow News.
Speaking at a press conference at Moscow’s Holiday Inn ahead of the event, gay rights activist Peter Tatchell described the city’s mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, as a criminal.
“He should be put on trial for violating the Russian constitution – the real criminals are not the organisers of Moscow Pride, but the Mayor of Moscow and the judges who uphold this illegal ban,” said Tatchell.
“I call the Russian President and Prime Minister to show leadership by publicly condemning the ban and by calling on the mayor of Moscow to lift it They should ensure freedom of expression and the right to protest to all citizens of Moscow and Russia – gay and straight,” he added.
Alekseev pointed out that the LGBT community did not oppose the rights of people to protest and say what they think against homosexuality.
“They have the same rights as us to express themselves. They simply should do it in a dignified and peaceful manner,” he said.
The openly homophobic Luzhkov last week banned the city’s Pride march for the fifth consecutive year, describing the events as “satanic”.
Russian activists are also eagerly awaiting a pending ruling on previous bans of Pride parades in the city by the European Court of Human Rights.