Defiant activists parade in Moscow. (Pic: GayRussia)
Russian activists managed to evade police in a “cat and mouse” game and held a short, illegal Pride march in Moscow.
Thirty Russian lesbian, gay and bisexual activists held what was described as “a 10 minute flash mob Gay Pride march” on one of Moscow’s major thoroughfares, Leningradsky Street, on Saturday.
Carrying a 20 metre long rainbow flag and placards in Russian and English calling for “Rights for gays”, the protesters chanted “No homophobia” and “Russia without homophobes,” reports British activist Peter Tatchell, who took part in the parade.
Homophobic Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who previously described the event as “satanic”, recently banned the Pride march for the fifth consecutive year. A court bid by organisers on Friday failed to overturn the ban.
According to Tatchell, Saturday’s guerrilla-style parade was over by the time police arrived on the scene. They failed to arrest any protestors.
“The Russian gay activists have won a big political and moral victory. They staged their Gay Pride march, despite it being banned by the Mayor and the judges, and despite the draconian efforts by the police and FSB security services to prevent it from taking place,” said Tatchell.
“I pay tribute to the courage and ingenuity of the Russian gay and lesbian activists. They outwitted the Mayor and his police henchmen,” he added. “This is much bigger than a gay rights issue. We are defending the right to protest of all Russians – gay and straight.”
Russian activists are awaiting a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights on previous bans of Pride parades in the city.