Gay activists to appeal “illegal” pride ban support

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Gay activists have branded a Moscow district court as “illegal” after it backed the recent gay pride ban this afternoon.

The Taganski district court of Moscow today dismissed claims of discrimination from organisers of the Russian capital’s first gay pride.

The lawyer for the organisers, Dmitri Bartenev, said: “Today’s decision of the court is illegal. According to the Russian law the right to conduct peaceful public events is realised in a way of notification and the authorities have no right to ban them.

“Prefecture had no legal reasons to ban picketing in support of sexual minorities rights in Lubyanka Square on 27 May.”

Head of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Human Rights Project GayRussia.Ru and the main organiser of Moscow gay pride Nikolai Alekseev said: “The decision of Taganski district court will be appealed in Moscow City Court according to the procedure adopted in the Russian civil law.”

Mr Alekseev added, “As soon as we get the final text of the decision we will have ten days to prepare an appeal claim.”

Representatives of Moscow authorities told the court that the event was banned because of numerous letters against it.

Gay activists including Mr Alekseev were arrested along with nationalists and religious protesters as campaigners gathered in Moscow on the scheduled day of the event last May.

Moscow Gay Pride co-organiser, Nikolai Baev, said: “The officials of Russia and Moscow are responsible for the public disorder.

“They allowed crowds of fascists to march in the centre of Moscow and they did nothing to prevent these homophobic attacks. On the contrary, all last month the Moscow authorities made homophobic statements and promoted homophobic hate, which created the preconditions for the violence we suffered.

“I know some Russian and Moscow politicians openly supported this homophobic mob, even deputies of the State Duma had declared that all gays and lesbians had to be driven off Moscow’s streets. Not one of them has been taken to task for these incitements to hate crimes.

“We demand this homophobic hysteria among Russian politicians and the media is stopped immediately. We are very pleased that some leading politicians and gay rights activists from across Europe and the USA are helping us in our struggle for freedom.

“It is scandalous that some people today have been hurt and their human rights abused. We are sure the homophobic and unconstitutional ban of Gay Pride by the Moscow Mayor led to these sad consequences. The Mayor who has denied us our rights does not have the moral authority to be the Mayor of our great city.”

The Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov said he banned the parade because the city is morally cleaner than the West, Reuters news agency reported.

He told Moscow radio, “Our way of life, our morals and our tradition, our morals are cleaner in every way. The West has something to learn from us and should not race along in this mad licentiousness.”

Mr Alekseev vowed to take the case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.