Moscow authorities have marked the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on Tuesday by banning this year’s planned gay Pride event.
Moscow City Hall announced on Tuesday that the May 28 event has been banned on the grounds that it may lead to civil unrest, effectively snubbing the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling on the matter.
Moscow’s Deputy Mayor told organiser Nikolai Alekseyev that his application to hold the event had been rejected due to the large number of objections the city had received from members of the public.
The news comes as a major disappointment for LGBT activists. Pride events have been banned by the city every year since 2006 but organisers had hoped that new mayor Mayor Sergei Sobyanin would change his predecessor’s anti-gay stance.
“Russia has decided to mark the Day Against Homophobia by showing, once again, its homophobic policy towards its LGBT citizens,” commented Alekseyev.
“The ban does not change anything to our intention to hold our rally as planned,” he said, adding that if anything untoward happens on May 28 the responsibility will lie with “the illegal and irresponsible decision” taken at Moscow City Hall.
Amnesty International called on Moscow authorities to overturn their ban.
“So-called public morality concerns can never be used to justify restrictions on the freedom of expression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” said Nicola Duckworth, Director of Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Programme.
“The right response to such objections is not to cave in to their demands, but to ensure that those seeking to exercise their rights lawfully are able to do so in safety and in dignity.”
In October last year, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia had violated the right to freedom of assembly of activists seeking to hold Pride events in Moscow.