Pride to go ahead in Russian town despite fear of violence

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A Pride parade is set to go ahead in the Russian city of Arkhangelsk on the national Paratroopers Day, despite fear of violence.

The mayor of the town previously said he would approve a request to hold the parade on the day, which is known for its drunken violence.

Mayor Viktor Pavlenko, according to FlashNord news agency, said LGBT activists had been “getting on my nerves”.

He said, during a council meeting: “This year our airborne forces celebrate their 85th anniversary, so on August 2, we’ll let them [the LGBT movement] go ahead for sure. I guarantee it. To let off steam.”

The LGBT activists in question have taken him up on his challenge, and despite having been repeatedly refused their request to hold Pride, have filed a request to hold the event for up to 100 people on 2 August.

According to FlashNord, a spokesman for the council said: “We’ve received a request [from the LGBT community] and will consider it. The situation is, obviously, awkward.”

The day, which is celebrated annually in Russia, is well known for its drunken crowds, and former paratroopers wearing blue berets, and white and blue striped t-shirts.

Hand-to-hand violence is often provoked, and authorities rarely intervene.

A lone gay rights activist, Krill Kalugin, in 2013 was assaulted by a violent group of Russian paratroopers in the city that was the birth place of the country’s anti-gay legislation.

Mr Kalugin was holding a rainbow banner in St Petersburg that read “This is propagating tolerance” when he was attacked.