Moscow Gay Pride: Dispatches from the Eastern Front




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Moscow Pride:  A Photo EssayEight photographs from l Moscow Pride. 2007

Moscow Gay Pride: Tatchell’s Assailant Not Arrested, Say Police. Moscow police confirm that they have opened a criminal investigation into the assault on British gay human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, at last Sunday's Moscow Gay Pride event.  But official police claims that they have arrested the right-wing extremist who punched Mr Tatchell in the face are untrue, according to the investigating officer.  (UK Gay News, June 1)

Moscow Gay Pride Organiser Khramov Found Guilty.  One of the three organisers of Moscow Pride has escaped a jail sentence and was fined when found guilty this afternoon in a Moscow court which threw-out evidence, given at a previous hearing by a number of MPs from Europe, as “frivolous”.  (UK Gay News, June 8)

Portuguese Gay Group Slams Russia, the EU and Portugal’s PM Over Moscow Pride.  The Portuguese gay and lesbian group Panteras Rosa (Pink Panthers) today hit out against the Russian authorities after the weekend’s violence in Moscow during Gay Pride.  (UK Gay News, May 29).

European Union Must Impose Travel Ban on Moscow Mayor of Gay Pride Trouble – Greens.  The British Green Party has today called for a European Union travel ban on the Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, following violence in the streets of the capital on Sunday during Gay Pride – and heavy-handed police tactics which saw many arrests.  (UK Gay News, May 28)

May 28:  USA:    Beach, or Beaten in Moscow?  Commentary by Sara Whitman.  I sat at the beach today, and wondered how many people thought Allan and I, with Zachary in tow, thought we were heterosexual.  Okay, Allan in his tiny Speedo and me in my giant one piece Speedo and, of course, gym shorts, were not exactly looking incredibly straight but the image was enough to bother me.  I had read this morning that over thirty gay activists had been arrested in Moscow.

May 28:  UK/Russia:  London Mayor Appeals to Moscow For End of Gay Pride Ban.   Following yesterday’ violence against lesbian and gay rights demonstrators in Moscow – and the arrest of several of the demonstrators – the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has this morning written to his Moscow counterpart Mayor Luzhkov urging that no charges be brought against those who were demonstrating for lesbian and gay rights.

May 28:  Russia:  Gay Pride Organisers Alekseev and Two Others Await Court  – 15 Days In Prison Expected.  Nikolai Alekseev and two colleagues from Moscow Gay Pride are spending tonight in police custody at they await a court appearance later this morning.

May 28:  Russia:  Ahwazi Arabs Condemn Arrest of Gay Rights Demonstrators in Moscow.  Ahwazi Arab activists last night condemned the treatment of gay rights activist Peter Tatchell and other demonstrators in Moscow yesterday.

May 27:  Russia:  Peter Tatchell Speaks About His Experience of Gay Pride, the Assault and His Arrest.  Arrests and violent attacks marred today’s attempted Moscow Gay Pride march.  Fifteen to 20 marchers were arrested.  The organiser of Moscow Pride, Nikolai Alekseev, is being detained overnight at Moscow’s Tverskoi district police station, together with two prominent members of Russia’s Radical and Free Radical parties, Nikolai Khramov and Sergei Konstantinov.  British gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was one of several Gay Pride marchers who were beaten today by gangs of neo-Nazis, nationalist extremists and Russian Orthodox fundamentalists.

May 27:  Russia:  Arrested Gay Pride Activist Asks World for Help.  From inside the Tverskoye police station, where he is being detained, Nikolai Alekseev – one of the Moscow Gay Pride organisers and its spokesperson – has issued a statement asking for international support and for the immediate release of all the gays activists currently being held.

May 27:  Russia Tatchell at Moscow Gay Pride: We Are In This Fight Together.  Greetings!  I bring you a message of comradeship and solidarity from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex [LGBTI] human rights organizations OutRage! in London.  Your struggle is our struggle. This is the full text of Peter Tatchell's keynote speech to the Moscow Gay Pride Conference yesterday

May 27: 
Moscow Gay Pride 2006: Where Were the Human Rights Campaigners? The Same Question Can be Asked Today The following commentary by was written a year ago.  Has the situation changed?  The stark answer is: “Not really”.   Ludmila Alekseeva of the Moscow Helsinki Group and Lev Ponomarev of the Movement for Human Rights have both declined to come, just as last year.

May 26:  Russia Moscow Gay Pride Blog.

May 26:  Russia Moscow City Hall Quiet as 120 Journalists Check In For Moscow Gay Pride.  With Gay Pride about to start, Moscow is surprisingly quiet.  Not a single official statement has been released by Mayor of Moscow, unlike at the same time last year.

May 25:  Russia Tatchell: The Right To Hold Moscow Pride Is Not Just an Issue of Gay, Lesbian Rights International solidarity can help give a psychological and practical boost to local LGBT activists, Peter Tatchell said shortly after arriving in Moscow for the city’s second Gay Pride.

May 25:  Russia
She Promises, She Delivers – Vladimir Luxuria in Moscow for Gay Pride.  An interview with Europe's first trangendered politician.







MOSCOW, May 27, 2007  There was trouble in Moscow today when participants at Gay Pride,, led by a number of European politicians, tried to deliver a letter of protest to Mayor Yuri Luzhkov at City Hall.  Violence flared as they faced groups of neo-Facist thugs, religious groups, aggressive police and the OMON.

This is a "record" of the dispatches received by UK Gay News from many sources.  Times are in BST (British Summer Time) in chronological order from 09:55 onwards..

09:55: German MP Volker Beck reported arrested by police outside City Hall at Gay Pride.  Also arrested is Nikolai Alekseev, the Pride organiser.

10:09:  Alekseev confirms in a brief telephone interview that he has been arrested as is in Tverskoya police station.  Other Gay Pride organisers have also been arrested. Volker Beck has been seen in under detention in police bus close to City Hall.

10:13:  Italian MEP Marco Cappato has been arrested, fellow MEP Sophie In't Veld has said.

10:25: First hand report from Italian MP Vladimir Luxuria:  "When we went out of the hotel.  The police was already here to check our documents and to make pressure.  Then, we met Alexey Mitrofanov and went to his car and as soon as we got out of the car the police approached us and stopped in a violent way Nikolai and pushed him inside the van . They arrested him and other organizers.  I tried to take Nikolai with me and the police pushed me very violently. They throw eggs on me and one went inside my bag on my passport. I am worried I can have problems to leave.  Then we tried to approach the city hall but we’ve been violently prevented. I saw some old woman with bags of stones and eggs. We are now in a safe place with tATu and Sohie. Marco Capato has been detained as well.

10:31:  MEP Sophie In't Veld:  "It was short.   The real violence started after we left.  We got there and then we went up to the city hall. Police immediately arrested Nikolai (Alekseev), and also Nikolai Khramov, so there were a lot of cameras everywhere. Many journalists. We felt eggs and other things being thrown. Police did nothing to arrest hooligans.  We walked 40 meters and there were interviews  and journalists.  I was walking not far from Mitrofanov and saw a guy with a knife.  And then when I saw that I thought: 'That’s it I am out of here'. The rest I heard is that Marco (Cappato, the other MEP) has been arrested. We’re in some restaurant with Vladimir, tATu and Mitrofanov. From what I heard there was a real fight after we left but I don’t know. I really don’t know. Last year was massive. This time the square was emptied in advance. They had put fences around and a lot of journalists were waiting there. The police arrested our people but not any of the hooligans." 

10:39:  From Scott Long of Human Rights Watch:  "Nikolai Alexeev, Sergei Konstinev, and Nikolai Khramov all being held at Tverskoye station on Dimitrovka.  We saw Nikolai and Sergei through a doorway and they looked unharmed to the outer eye.  No word yet on where Volker Beck is. Nikolai and the other two should be free in three hours."

10:48:  From Scott Long of Human Rights Watch:   "Still at Tverskoye police station. 11 more Russians believed to be under arrest, on buses, waiting to be taken to stations for processing.  All these reports not yet confirmed.  Marco Cappato [Italian MEP] reportedly also held in OMON bus on Tverskaya. Marco just delivered to Tverskoye station. Volker Beck reportedly released."

10:56: staffer reports that German MP Volker Beck has been released by police and is back at his hotel giving  interview to German TV.  French Consul, accompanied by a Secretary from the French Embassy have been to the scene as they prepare a report.  They say that no French nationals taking part in Pride have requested Consular assistance.

11:04 staffer reports that most of the team members of the Pride Committee have been arrested. 15 of them tried to unveil a banner near the statue in front of the city hall. This is at the same place than a year ago, gays and lesbians, gathered at 3pm.  Confirmed that Peter Tatchell had been hit in the eye, but no details of his injuries.

11:37 Associated Press is reporting:  "Marco Capatto, a European Parliament deputy from Italy, was kicked by a gay rights opponent as he spoke to journalists; Capatto began shouting "Where are the police?" and officers hauled him away as he struggled with them."

12:20:  Unconfirmed report from some news agencies say that Peter Tatchell has been arrested.

12:28:  BBC News 24 reports that Peter Tatchell has been arrested and is showing film of his arrest in their "headline news". Footage shows Mr. Tatchell was arrested by the OMON and not the police.  BBC written report

13:18:  Moscow Arrests: More names are coming though.  Kurt Krickler, representing HOSI Wien at Moscow Pride reports that he saw Maim Anmeghichean of the Brussels-based NGO ILGA-Europe and Ottavio Marzocchi, a political researcher for the Liberal and Democratic group in the European Parliament both arrested and taken away to the police bus.

13:22:  From Scott Long of Human Rights Watch:  "At Tverskoya police station.  Told by police that Nikolai [Alekseev] and two others are to be charged formally and will stay overnight, to be taken to court tomorrow.  Trying to get lawyers.  According to Green Alternative and Max Anmegechean, Peter was injured in the eye and is in the station trying to make a report but was not arrested,  rather was placed in the van after hurt.  Have to call lawyers now..."

13:22:  From Scott Long of Human Rights Watch:  "At Tverskoya police station.  Told by police that Nikolai [Alekseev] and two others are to be charged formally and will stay overnight, to be taken to court tomorrow.  Trying to get lawyers.  According to Green Alternative and Max Anmegechean, Peter was injured in the eye and is in the station trying to make a report but was not arrested,  rather was placed in the van after hurt.  Have to call lawyers now..."


■ Arrested: Marco Capatto (left), Italian Member of the European Parliament; Volker Beck (centre) , Member of the German Bundestag: and Nikolai Alekseev, one of the organisers of Moscow Pride and the group's spokesperson.  The politicians have now been released, but Mr. Alekseev is expected to be held over night and will appear in court on Monday.


13:30:  ORF (Austrian television) has footage online

13:39:  Nikolai Alekseev has been informed by the police that he will NOT be released.  Same for Nikolai Khramov, the leader of the Russian radicals. Both will appear in court tomorrow and could be sentenced to up to 15 days in jail -

13:43:  From Scott Long of Human Rights Watch:  "An immediate fear is that if any of the extremists are held overnight they might be placed in the same cell with Nikolai Alekseev and the two radical party members. 10-15 extremists remain outside the Tverskoya police station and just pelted some of us with eggs.  MEP Marco Caputto has been released.   The rightist Duma member Mitrofanov finally showed up here."

14:21:  From Scott Long of Human Rights Watch:  "According to Green Alternative,  11 activists still held at Presnenskoye police station.  Going there now.  Nationalists still inn front of Tverskoya police station and ranging up and down Dimitrovka looking for victims."

14:35:  From Reuters report:  "It is very conspicuous when people are arrested in front of the mayor's office when they were doing nothing other than trying to present a peaceful petition," said Scott Long, a rights activist with Human Rights Watch who observed the events. "There was no real attempt to separate the two sides and that led to people being beaten up," he said. "I would call on the Russian authorities to protect freedom of assembly, protect freedom of expression and protect demonstrators."

15:00:  Nikolai Alekseev appeals to the world from inside Tverskoya police station.

15:05:  BBC has video report online of the assault on Peter Tatchell.

16:15:  None of the gay rights opponents were seen being taken away by police and demonstrators who were not detained complained that police ignored the violence, The Australian is reporting in its Monday edition.  Note: the person who attacked Peter Tatchell was led away by police/OMON.  It is not known if he was arrested.

16:43:  "Someone protect me, someone protect me," pleads Peter Tatchell following the attack on him - Sky News video

17:08:  France 24 has online video report from Moscow (in English)

17:20:  And what about the attendance of the pop group tATu outside City Hall?  The gutsy girls DID turn up to support the gays as they tried to hand-in the letter to the Moscow Mayor,  But they were even threatened and had eggs thrown at them as they walked a few metres from their car.  Others being arrested, they returned to their car and were whisked away to the safety of a nearby restaurant/bar.

18:12:  In Rome, around 50 people gathered outside the Russian Embassy to protest the violence against gay today in Moscow, the lack of basic human rights in Russia and the arrest of MEP Marco Capatto.

19:30:  From Scott Long of Human Rights Watch:  "Alexey Kozlov has been absolutely heroic today, ...spend hours trying to get food to - and information from - detainees in Presensenskaya police station.  Another thing to note is how blatantly some of the extremists appeared to be cooperating with police this time.  I was fingered [American for "pointed out to the police"] by one of the extremists directly to an OMON officer. Straight to the OMON bus." 

20:00:  11pm in Moscow.  There will be no further updates today.  Things appear to be quiet in the city - though there is concern for those who are detained overnight.

MONDAY MAY 28, 2007

07.55:  Russian Wire services are reporting that "an opponent of an unauthorized gay parade ... " has beaten up a British citizen and he has been charged.  "A young man detained by police officers near the building of the Moscow City Hall is accused of inflicting bodily injuries (Article 116 of the Russian Criminal Code)," a source in Moscow law enforcement agencies told Interfax. The only known British persons injured yesterday were Peter Tatchell and Richard Fairbrass of the pop group Right said Fred.  Neither were named in any of the reports.

08:00:  Scott Long of Human Rights Watch is now at the court where Alekseev, Khramov, and Konstantinev are scheduled to appear now.  But he says there appears to be some delay as the as the court has not yet received the dossier.

08:50:  Nikolai Alekseev has just telephoned UK Gay News.  He is at the court and is waiting for the case to be heard.  "There is some delay," he said.  Mr. Alekseev said that he was fine.  He said that if found guilty he could be fined or given a jail sentence of up to 15 days.

10:00:  Still no news of the start of the court case.  Scott Long with Moscow Helsinki Group, Boris Dittrich (also from Human Rights Watch) and Max Anmegechean are with Nikolai Alekseev at the court.

11:00:  Nothing yet from the courthouse ... Today's Rossiiskaya Gazeta said that there was little support for homosexuals following yesterday "Gay Pride".  It reported: "A small group of Russians and European politicians defied a government ban in an attempt to hold a protest for homosexual rights in Moscow on Sunday, though police and counter protesters overwhelmed them. Police prevented "the unsanctioned expression of tolerance" detaining over 20 people.  Police also tried to isolate the demonstrators from angry Muscovites, though many were beaten."  The paper reported that government officials, leaders from all religious denominations in Russia and many members of the "civic chamber" condemned the gay rights demonstration.

12:14:  The mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni, has said:  "What happened in Moscow, leaves you speechless.  To use - or even tolerate - violence against those who are demonstrating in a peaceful manner for the recognition of their human and civil rights is a sad sign."

13:15:  London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, writes to Moscow Mayor condemning the events of yesterday and calling for the lifting of ban on Gay Prides.

13:36:  Just spoken with Peter Tatchell, who says he is "bruised but fine".  Nikolai Alekseev is still at the court - other than that, no more is known.  Mr. Tatchell thanks everyone for their support for LGBT rights and Moscow Gay Pride.

13:47:  Nikolai Alekseev Has Been Released
SMS message from Nikolai reads:  "I am released by court! Next hearing on 9 June. Volker Beck was brilliant witness/ MP Mitrofanov provided me a brilliant theatrical lawyer.  He was also in court. He helped to lobby authorities in our direction.  That was a great combination together with Western European pressure.  Thanks to the German Presidency of the EU."

There will be no further update to this page



Posted: 27 May 2007 - constantly updated


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