This is it, folks: in just a few hours, Moscow’s homophobic officials, police, and citizens will be put to the test by a group of LGBT activists who are either very brave, very crazy, or a little of each.
Despite a finding by the European Union that Moscow is required to allow the parade, officials have banned it. In defiance, the group still plans to meet at 1pm at The Kremlin, at the gate of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Then at 1:30, they march to City Hall.
Says organizer Peter Tatchell:
We expect to bashed by neo-Nazis who have promised to attack the parade. The Moscow police are refusing to protect us. The possibility of sustaining serious injuries is a worry. Russian neo-Nazis have previously murdered other protesters. The police have vowed to arrest us. In particular, the Russian marchers are likely to suffer harsh treatment and punishment.
Kind of puts American Prides in perspective, doesn’t it? Last year, everyone was complaining in San Francisco because the Backstreet Boys set was too short and the selection of beers was lousy. But nobody got murdered by a gang of neo-Nazis.
So far, there’s been no comment on the situation by U.S. officials. If someone’s bashed — or, God forbid, killed — that might have to change. Especially if that someone is Dan Choi.