Ban on Pride protests upheld by Moscow court

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A Russian court has dismissed an appeal from the organisers of Moscow Pride against the decision that a ban of Pride pickets as part of Moscow Pride on 27th May this year was lawful.

Two pickets in support of tolerance and respect of the rights and freedoms of homosexual people in Russia were organised as an alternative to the march on the same day which was banned by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

One of the pickets was planned on Tverskaya Square in front of City Hall while the other was planned in Novopushkinsky Skver in downtown Moscow.

Several people, among them human rights activist Peter Tatchell were attacked by homophobic protestors and many people were arrested by police.

The Prefecture of the Central Administrative Area of Moscow denied the permission for both events giving reference to Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which allows a ban on a public event for security reasons.

In August the Taganski district court of Moscow ruled that the ban on the pickets by the prefecture was lawful because the authorities were unable to provide the security of their participants as the conduct of those events provoke such a strong negative reaction from the majority of the society.

In their appeal to Moscow City Court sent on 10th September Pride organisers argued that Russian legislation does not allow an absolute ban of the public event and only allows to the authorities to offer an alternative place or time.

This was not done by the prefecture. They asked the court to cancel the local court decision and to rule that pickets’ bans were unlawful.

Moscow Pride organiser Nicolas Alexeyev, who was in court today, told GayRussia.Ru:

“The hearing lasted not more than five minutes. I saw many things in Moscow courts but I never saw such a formal hearing.

“The panel of three judges debated the decision for one minute though it was clear that the decision was known to them long before.

“Earlier these same judges already dismissed our appeals against other decisions of Moscow authorities.

“Now we are just waiting for the last decision on our appeal against the decision of Tverskoi district court which ruled that the march ban on 27th May was lawful. Then we will send our second application against Russia to the European Court of Human Rights.”

An application to the ECHR in Strasbourg concerning last year’s Moscow Pride ban is already been before the court since January.