Activists look forward to gay century in Moscow

Published: August 24, 2011

Russian gay rights activists have planned their demonstrations for the next hundred years and have sent applications to the city authorities.

They say the aim is to expose what they call the “absurdity” of the laws which the authorities use to deny them the right to conduct their events.

The legal loophole the activists are trying to exploit stipulates that applications to hold a demonstration should be filed to local authorities no less than 45 days before the event. The law does not prohibit filing requests earlier.

The gay community, thus, had every right to submit their requests “to help mass cultural and educational activities from 2012 to 2112.” All the events are to take place on Bolotnaya Square in central Moscow, right next to the Kremlin.

The dates chosen for Gay Pride parades in 2012 are March 4, coinciding with the first round of presidential elections, and May 27, the anniversary of the ban on criminal prosecution against homosexuals in Russia. Up to 2112, the gay community is planning to hold demonstrations every Saturday around May 27.

According to Russian law, the authorities’ answer can be expected to follow in two weeks. So far, no official comments on the issue have been released.

“I think they will try to look for ways to ban it without looking stupid,” LGBT activist and lawyer Nikolay Alekseev told RT. “But in this situation it would be really hard not to look stupid. I’m really looking forward to such headlines as ‘Moscow authorities ban Gay Pride parades for 100 years.’ The entire world will be laughing at this, including the judges from the European Court. The Council of Europe will have to take steps to pressurize the Moscow authorities into allowing such an event to take place.”

The last attempted gay pride effort was dispersed by police in Moscow on May 28. More than 60 people, both supporters of LGBT rights and their opponents, were detained.

Russian gay rights activists have been applying for permission to hold a parade in Moscow for several years without success. Former mayor Yury Luzhkov was an outspoken critic of gay marches, branding them on one occasion “satanic.”

With Luzhkov replaced by Sergey Sobyanin, the LGBT community said they hoped for change. The new mayor, however, deemed such events in the capital “unnecessary.”

The bans have always been warmly supported by the Russian Orthodox Church. The authorities are entitled to ban any propaganda based on its potential moral damage to the people, church officials say.

In July 2011, Russia has paid 30,000 euros in compensation to gay activists over Moscow’s decision to ban so-called pride marches.

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