London protest against Russia ban on Moscow Gay Pride
Moscow police collusion with neo-Nazis condemned
Council of Europe urged to sanction Russia over its defiance of European Court
PHOTOS of the protest: http://tinyurl.com/6d2bl2q
London – 1 July 2011
Protesters rallied outside the Russian Embassy in London on Friday 1 July.
“We condemned Russia’s ban on Moscow Gay Pride and Moscow police collusion with neo-Nazis who bashed LGBT campaigners. Our protest also urged the Council of Europe to sanction Russia over its defiance of the European Court of Human Rights, which has twice ruled that the ban on Moscow Gay Pride is illegal,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who attended and spoke at the protest.
Friday’s protest was organised by Peter Gray and Matthew Perkins. In May, they went to Moscow to support Russian LGBT activists in their attempt to hold a Moscow Gay Pride march.
PHOTOS of Friday’s London protest are available for download and free use here:
http://tinyurl.com/6d2bl2q (Please credit: Matthew Perkins)
Speakers included Peter Gray, Derek Lennard of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association, Andy Harley, editor of UK Gay News, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, and Charles Meacham, who has photographed recent Moscow Gay Prides (a large display of his photos of Russian LGBT activists was put on display outside the Russian Embassy).
Speaking at the Friday 1 July protest outside the Russian Embassy in London, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said:
"During the Second World War, Muscovites fought the Nazi onslaught. Now the Mayor of Moscow is colluding with neo-Nazis. He gave them permission to stage a protest calling for violence against gay people, while denying Moscow Gay Pride a permit for a peaceful, lawful march for LGBT equality. The Moscow police openly fraternised with neo-Nazis. They arrived in police buses, were allowed to park in a prohibited area outside City Hall and only a handful were arrested for violent attacks and intimidation. This collusion with neo-Nazism is a shameful betrayal of Moscow's proud anti-fascist traditions.
"Prohibiting Moscow Gay Pride and arresting the participants is illegal under Russia's constitution, which guarantees the right to peaceful assembly.
"It defies a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that the event should be allowed to proceed. Some of us are now pressing the Council of Europe to suspend Russia's right to vote in the Council's parliamentary assembly. Russia must not be permitted to defy the European Court with impunity.
"Prior to the attempted staging of Moscow Gay Pride on 28 May, the ban was condemned by the Council of Europe's Secretary-General, Thorbjorn Jagland, and its Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg. Russian LGBTs need more than fine words. The Council of Europe must take action to discipline Russia for its flagrant defiance of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"Moscow Gay Pride was about more than gay equality. We were also defending the right of all Russians to freedom of expression and peaceful protest. We express our support for every Russian person whose right to protest has been denied. As well as demanding LGBT human rights, we demand human rights for all Russia's minorities, including Jewish, Black, Roma, Asian and Muslim people.
“The Russian LGBT activists are courageous, inspirational heroes, risking arrest and beatings. I am honoured to support them. They deserve our admiration, respect and support,” said Mr Tatchell.