Gay groups show solidarity with marred Moscow pride

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups and individuals will gather outside the Russian Consulate in Edinburgh today to protest the Mayor of Moscow’s decision to ban a gay pride march in Russia.

The Moscow mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, banned the march and subsequently failed to protect gay activists who were in the area last Saturday.

Many campaigners who arrived at the intended venue of the march were assaulted by nationalists and religious groups and a large number were arrested by police.

Several international observers were also attacked and arrested.

The LGBT Campaign of the National Union of Students Scotland, together with other organisations including Equality Network, Stonewall Scotland and Amnesty International, will lay flowers outside the Russian consulate as a symbol of solidarity with the Russian gay pride marchers who had hoped to lay flowers at the tomb of the unknown solider, but were instead attacked.

The event is part of an international gesture of protest at the actions of the Moscow authorities and support of the Russian marchers. Similar events are to take place across Europe tomorrow, including in Germany, France and Bulgaria.

Scott Cuthbertson, NUS Scotland LGBT Officer, said: “At a time when LGBT people’s rights in the UK are being better recognised, it is important that we stand united for all LGBT people across the world, including those whose rights are being eroded. We strongly condemn the actions of the Russian authorities and call on all governments to treat their LGBT citizens with the dignity and respect that they deserve.”

Rosemary Burnett, Amnesty International’s programme director Scotland, said:

“We are very concerned that the right to peaceful protest and association of LGBT people is being undermined with the banning of Pride in Moscow. This represents a climate of prejudice which LGBT people face in Russia, meaning that other abuses, verbal and physical continue to go unpunished.”

Tim Hopkins, of the Equality Network Campaigns Group, said: “In the world today, an attack on LGBT people anywhere is an attack on our communities everywhere. We call on the Government of Russia to uphold international standards of freedom, dignity and equality, and to ensure that LGBT Russians can express their pride in their identities freely and safely.”

Mr Luzhkov banned the parade claiming it would protect gay people from violent protest.