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Russian police detain activists, foes at unsanctioned gay pride rally

Saturday, May 25, 2013

MOSCOW — Gay-rights campaigners and their opponents clashed at an unsanctioned rally in the Russian capital on Saturday, but a heavy police presence in Ukraine kept the two sides apart at that country’s first-ever gay pride march.

Russian police said they arrested at least 30 gay rights campaigners and Christian Orthodox vigilantes in Moscow.

The campaigners tried to unfurl banners denouncing Kremlin-backed anti-gay legislation in front of Russia’s lower house of parliament, but they were attacked by vigilantes carrying religious icons and crosses.

Photos: Ivan Sekretarev, AP
Police detain participants in an unsanctioned gay rally in downtown Moscow on Saturday.

Police detain Russia’s leading gay rights campaigner Nikolai Alexeyev during the unsanctioned rally on Saturday.

Police detain Russia’s leading gay rights campaigner Yuri Gavrikov during the unsanctioned gay rally on Saturday.

Police detain an anti-gay protester wearing a Cossack hat and an Orthodox Christian icon at the rally on Saturday.

Russia’s lower house in January voted in favor of a bill that makes public events and dissemination of information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to minors punishable by fines of up to $16,000.

The bill, still awaiting final approval, is part of an effort to promote traditional Russian values as opposed to Western liberalism, which the Kremlin and church see as corrupting Russian youth and contributing to a wave of protest against President Vladimir Putin’s rule.

Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, but homophobia remains strong in the country. Government critics and gay rights activists claim that the Kremlin and the powerful Orthodox Church encourage vigilante groups to attack gay rallies and parades.

In Kiev, between 50 and 100 gay rights activists staged the ex-Soviet nation’s first-ever gay pride parade. They held banners reading “Homosexuality is no disease” and “Human rights are my pride.”

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8 more reader comments:

  1. It is as if they are going back to the era of the tsars which were virulently homophobic.

    Posted on Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 10:05am
  2. Brave people.

    Posted on Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 10:11am
  3. Here we go

    Posted on Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 10:12am
  4. And for once, they PROTECT free speech!

    Posted on Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 10:19am
  5. This country does not comply with a decision of the European Court of Human Rights, which recognized that the prohibition of gay pride parades are illegal. And it’s very sad (

    Posted on Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 12:41pm
  6. I am shocked by what happened on yesterdays demos by the Police in Newcastle upon Tyne, I had some concerns that they may use “to prevent a breach of the peace” against anyone breaking off towards the EDL, this would have been legally dubious but they could in my opinion justify it to protect those breaking off, this would have led to no charges as you cant charge for BOP, no DNA and in-fact as PACE gives powers to demand names date of Birth and addresses and BOP is not covered by PACE you DON’T need to give it unless thee is a substantive covered by PACE but like powers to arrest as opposed to powers to detain the Police don’t understand it, even though they do understand they cant take DNA (which would be how you argue to refuse to give your name as you cant have one without other). Seems they despite this time honored power (often used against Peter Tatchell – Robert Mugabe arrest 1999, Having a WEST PAPAU flag 2012 etc they have used conspiracy to commit violent disorder, taken DNA. This is totally out of proportion.

    Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 3:38am
  7. Nuke Russia!

    Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 3:52am
  8. Awe come on Putin! Gay people are no threat to the your masculinity! if anything they enhance it!

    Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 7:08am