Sunday, November 21, 2010

Brody's Notes... First Authorised Russian LGBT Parade Disrupted By Protests & Violence

Russian LGBT activists protected by St. Petersburg Police  Photo By
By Brody Levesque (Washington DC) NOV 21 | Russian Gay activist, attorney, and journalist,  Nikolai Alexseyev reports from St. Petersburg, the Russian Federation, that a small group of LGBT activists held the first ever legally sanctioned Pride parade in the streets of St. Petersburg yesterday.
The group of pro LGBT demonstrators numbering around a dozen, held signs calling for greater tolerance of LGBT people and improved human rights in general. The activists were protected by a wall of St. Petersburg police officers as raw eggs and insults were hurled according to Alexseyev, who said that the Gay rights marchers were outnumbered by counter-protesters from the vehemently Ant-Gay Russian Orthodox Christian Church, old ladies, and a number of skinheads, whom, along with other radicals, attempted to break up the LGBT equality rights march which lasted less than an hour due to the violence that erupted.
One of the march organisers, Maria Efremenkova said: “The fact that this demonstration was authorised is a step forward for us and for all of democratic Russia."
Anti-Gay Pride protesters in St. Petersburg  Photo By
Last month, after five years of lawsuits by Alexseyev and other LGBT activists, a Russian court declared the governmental ban on Pride parades in the city was illegal. Activists had argued that the ban violated constitutional guarantees of freedom of assembly along with protections guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.
In a separate ruling this past October, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the repeated bans on Gay Pride parades in Moscow put the Russian Federation in violation of the European Human Rights Convention, of which Russia is a signatory nation.