Moscow Court Rules 145 Gay Pride Marches Were Lawfully Banned
Sent by Nicolas Alexeyev
The Moscow City Court today threw-out the appeals by Moscow Gay Pride organisers over the banning of 145 gay human rights marches that were planned for last May.
In September, federal judge Alexey Sevalkin dismissed the appeal made to the Tverskoi District Court that the ban imposed on the marches by the Moscow city authorities was unlawful under both Russian and European law.
In all, the organisers submitted 155 requests to Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov (five for each day during May). All applications were denied by Moscow authorities in City Hall, claiming security reasons and prevention of public disorder.
Earlier, both Tverskoi District Court and Moscow City Court held that the bans of the same marches on May 1 and 2 were also lawful.
However, public events of the third Moscow Pride took place without permission of the authorities on Sunday June 1.
Activists gathered for their picket next to the monument to the famous Russian composer Petr Tchaikovsky, who was gay himself, in downtown Moscow.
At about the same time the activists unveiled a huge banner from one of the flats on Tverskaya Street directly opposite Moscow City Hall. The banner with Moscow Pride logo read “Rights to gays and lesbians. Homophobia of Mayor Luzhkov should be prosecuted”.
And for the first time ever, Moscow Gay Pride had a march – albeit a very short one – as gay men and women managed to outwit the police.
“The bans of all 155 gay human rights marches in Moscow will be appealed to the European Court of Human Rights,” chief organizer of Moscow Gay Pride, Nikolai Alekseev, said after the court hearing this morning.
“We have already started to work on our complaint against Russia.”
There are already five complaints by Russian gay activists awaiting consideration in Strasbourg. Two of them concern the bans of Moscow Pride events in May 2006 and May 2007. Three other concern the bans of various gay pickets last year.
Russian gay activists are also considering whether a further two complaints should be referred to Strasbourg.
Both concern the bans of gay pickets this year – one next to the office of General Prosecutor and another next to the Iranian Embassy in Moscow.