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London protest at anti-gay Moscow mayor London protest at anti-gay Moscow mayor
Stewart Who?
26 February, 2007
more articles by Stewart Who?

While Russia has embraced capitalism and continues to wield its economic clout, the country is in no position to brag about its human rights record. In fact, considering the size of it's population, Russia is possibly the worst place in Europe to be lesbian or gay.

The Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, has denounced same-sex relationships and gay pride events as "satanic", "unnatural", "deviations", "blasphemy" and "deadly moral poison."

In February 2006, Grand Mufti Talgat Tadzhuddin was quoted as saying about Moscow gay pride marchers, "If they come out on to the streets anyway they should be flogged. Any normal person would do that - Muslims and Orthodox Christians alike..."

For these reasons Outrage are co-ordinating a protest at London's City Hall this Wednesday 28 February from 11am to 1.30pm. The protest is timed to coincide with the Moscow Mayor's photo call and press conference at City Hall in London.

Nikolai Alekseev, organiser of Moscow Gay Pride, will fly to London to join the protest. Luzhkov recently announced that he was banning this year's Moscow Gay Pride march (last year's march was also banned and some marchers were beaten and arrested).

"The organisers of Moscow Gay Pride appeal to our friends in London to join Wednesday's protest at City Hall against the homophobic Mayor of Moscow, to show him that homophobes are not tolerated in Britain," said Nikolai Alekseev.

"We need your help to prevent new violations of the rights of gay people in Moscow in May this year.

"We appeal to the Mayors of London, Paris and Berlin to protest to Luzhkov against his ban on Moscow Gay Pride. Whatever the stance of the Moscow Mayor, we are going ahead with plans for a second Moscow Gay Pride on 27 May," added Mr Alekseev.

London's Mayor Ken Livingstone responded to Luzhkov's ban by releasing a statement: “I strongly oppose Moscow banning gay rights marches in the city. It is the right of gays and lesbians to demonstrate peacefully and this should be upheld by Moscow.

“Last May, I condemned the decision by Moscow to ban the city’s first gay pride event, which led to scenes of fascists parading in Moscow and assaulting gay and lesbian people. I am taking exactly the same position this year.

“London has set a clear line against hate crime and welcomes lesbians and gay men and values the important contribution they make to our city. Moscow should show respect to all its citizens and allow gay and lesbian citizens to stage what is clearly a purely peaceful event.”

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