PRIDE IN KIEV AND MOSCOW BANNED

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A gay activist is arrested by police during an
unauthorised 2011 Moscow Pride event.

A court in Kiev has upheld a ban on gay Pride, while activists in Moscow say they will go ahead with their event this weekend, despite it also being banned.

The Kiev Pride march was set to take place in the Ukrainian capital on Saturday but city authorities cited fears that it would lead to violence as a reason to stop it from going ahead.

They also said that the event would clash with this weekend’s Kiev Day celebrations in the city centre.

On Thursday, a city court upheld the ban, which Amnesty International called a “shameful decision”.

The organisation accused the court and city authorities of having “shockingly colluded” with anti-gay groups. It noted that Pride organisers were only informed of the court hearing two hours before which left them without time to arrange legal representation in the case.

“Not only are the council attempting to deprive us of our right to freedom of assembly, they have also denied us the opportunity of a fair hearing in court,” said Kiev Pride 2013 spokesperson, Stas Mischenko.

Last year, efforts to hold the first-ever Pride parade in Kiev were cancelled just thirty minutes before the start after LGBT activists were beaten and tear gassed by anti-gay hooligans.

Moscow’s LGBT community is facing a similar ban in neighbouring Russia, where authorities have also refused to allow Pride events to take place this weekend. This is the eighth year in a row that the city has banned Pride.

“According to Russian law, we must work clearly and consistently on maintaining morality, directed to the teaching of patriotism to the growing generation, and not toward unclear aspirations, not to mention taking the city’s central squares and streets for this,” Aleksei Mayorov, head of Regional Security for the city of Moscow, told Interfax.

As in previous years, the ban was upheld by a city court on Thursday.

In response, the defiant Organising Committee of Moscow Pride said that the event “will take place without the consent of the authorities”.

The organisers will hold two unauthorised rallies in central Moscow on Saturday afternoon.

“There, everyone will be able to express their protest against the illegal ban on public gatherings of the LGBT community by the city authorities,” they said.

They warned that anyone who participated should be prepared for “the possible negative consequences of such actions”.

Previous attempts by activists to hold unauthorised Pride protests saw participants being arrested by police and being attacked by anti-gay counter-protesters.

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