Things turned ugly this weekend at Moscow’s contentious gay pride when a group of anti-gay nationalists and conservatives took matters into their own fisted hands, beating down the prideful paraders, including British gay activist, Peter Tatchell. City police stepped in to break-up the riotous situation and took Tatchell and a number of other queers into custody, including German MP Volker Beck, Italian MEP Marco Cappato and Russian activist, Nikolai Alexeyev. The protesters, meanwhile, slipped through the cracks of “justice” and were not detained.
Tatchell used his arrest to take on the Russian government as a whole, chiding their undemocratic ways:
Today’s protest was about much more than gay rights. We were defending the right to freedom of expression and peaceful protest for all Russians, gay and straight.
The ban on Moscow Gay Pride is one aspect of a much wider attack on civil society and human rights. It is evidence of a failed transition from communism to democracy and of a rising trend towards autocracy and authoritarianism.
A number of European politicians also took the opportunity to criticize Russia’s man-handling of the homos.
London mayor Ken Livingstone wrote a scathing letter to Moscow’s Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, while Paris’ openly gay mayor, Bertrand Delanoe said:
I would like to denounce the unacceptable violence perpetrated once again by extremists on people peacefully participating in a rally in the Russian capital for the equality of homosexuals.
London Mayor Appeals to Moscow For End of Gay Pride Ban [UK Gay News]
Gay activists beaten and arrested in Russia [The Guardian]
Tatchell Bashed by Moscow Nazis [Peter Tatchell]