Slavic Pride Update From the LGBT Moscow Wires – Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov Refuses to Speak to Organisers – Police Attempted to Arrest Nikolai Alekseev
Russian police officers arrest Nikolai Alexeyev in Moscow, 27 May 2007. Russian police arrested Russian gay rights activists and a leading British campaigner Peter Tatchell as they demonstrated outside the Moscow mayor’s office.
(Photo credit: AFP Photo Maxim Marmur, Getty Images)
Slavic Pride Update From the LGBT Moscow Wires
Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov Refuses to Speak to Organisers
Three arrested but organisers vow to march regardless of threats
Moscow – 15 May 2009 by Peter Tatchell
Various senior Russian sources are reporting that Moscow police are today attempting to arrest Nikolai Alekseev and other key Slavic Pride coordinators, and are also attempting to track down and arrest British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell in order to prevent Slavic Pride going ahead.
Mr. Alekseev, Mr. Tatchell and others have been transferred to a secure location. In case of arrest, several contingency plans have been prepared so that the Slavic Pride march will not unravel should the police catch the main coordinators, adding to the number of campaigners already arrested.
The Embassies of UK, France, Switzerland, Holland, Germany and the USA have all been notified of the plans and the risk that some of their nationals could be arrested and detained tomorrow and could require consular assistance.
Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov pointedly refused to speak to organisers or acknowledge the offer of compromise.
However, commenting on the increased number of Russians who are planning to attend this years Pride march, Slavic Pride organiser Nikolai Alekseev said
“We are glad to see that this year this event is organised, led and populated by local Russians and Moscowvites. After years of silent oppression, we are finally creating a generation of LGBT activists that are becoming bolder and are ready to step up to demand equal rights.
“The presence and solidarity shown by British human rights activist Peter Tatchell and Chicago LGBT activist Andy Thayer here in Moscow sets a good example for the local people who have braved the violent threats and taunts from Moscow Mayor Luzhkov and police chief Vladmir Pronin.”
Meanwhile, in the run up to Saturday’s march, Peter Tatchell was awarded the International Award of Slavic Pride for his active support of Slavic LGBT campaigns. Mr. Tatchell was selected by a jury that included notable human rights campaigners Sophie Int Veld, Volker Beck, Bertrand Delanoe and Louis Georges Tin.
Vladimir Ivanov, the film director who produced ‘Moscow Pride 06’, a documentary about the violent repression of the 2006 demonstration that was premiered at the Berlin film festival in 2007, was awarded the International Award of Russian Pride. As well as a film director, Mr. Ivanov has been one of the main organisers of Russian LGBT public campaigns over several years.
Diplomatic sources report that the Moscow Embassies of the people involved in Slavic Pride are concerned about people who are arriving in Moscow to attend the Eurovision celebrations and join the Pride march being beaten or arrested. They are monitoring the situation and, if necessary, it is reported that they are planning to make a joint diplomatic announcement later.
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