Moscow to defy European court by banning gay pride parade
May 17, 2011, 13:46 GMT
Moscow - Officials in the Russian capital Moscow will defy threatened penalties by the European Court of Human Rights and ban a public demonstration by gays and lesbians, human rights officials said Tuesday.
Moscow Deputy Mayor Ludmila Shvetsova confirmed that the city government would not allow a gay pride march scheduled for May 28 because police 'cannot guarantee the security ... of sexual minorities.'
Volker Beck, a German Bundestag member from the Green Party and a previous victim of an anti-gay attack in the Russian capital, called the ban 'discriminatory and unlawful.'
'The idea that the safety of the participants cannot be guaranteed is a farce,' Beck said. 'A state that, with a gigantic security and military apparatus, can kidnap, torture, and murder its own people doesn't want to protect its own minorities.'
Moscow's new mayor, Sergei Sobanin, is continuing the city government's long-standing homophobia, said Nikolai Alekseev, one of the march organizers.
Members of Russia's Gay and Lesbian Association, which is organizing the planned march through the centre of Moscow, intend to take to the streets despite the city government's ban, according to news reports.
The Human Rights Court of Europe in October struck down the Moscow city's planned ban of the parade, threatening fines if city authorities defied the court ruling.
Discrimination against gays and lesbians is widespread in Russia, where alternative lifestyles were suppressed during Soviet rule.