■ Gay activists fooled the Moscow authorities by starting
their 'Gay Pride' by the statue of
Tchaikovsky, arguably the most famous
Russian in history who was homosexual.
photo © 2008 GayRussia.ru
Most recent posts are first
times are Moscow Time (UTC plus 4 hours)
Photos from GayRussia.ru of the demonstration at the
Tchaikovsky statue are
TV footage of the demonstration outside Moscow City Hall by gay men and women in Moscow
(in Russian). Two photos
Moscow Pride chief organiser Nikolai Alekseev has said: "With the
release of the four activists, Moscow Pride is officially over".
The four gay activists have appeared in court. The judge did adjourned
the case until next week and ordered them to be released from custody.
The thinking is that the four will, if found guilty, be fined - if a jail
sentence was a possibility, they would not have been released.
dozen anti-gay protesters were outside the court, so an operation was
mounted to get the four from the court unscathed.
The four were kept by police in the cells overnight. They are due to
appear in court about now.
Police have changed their mind. The four are still in custody and it
looks like they will be held overnight and could be in court later Monday.
FOUR ACTIVISTS TO BE RELEASED FROM POLICE CUSTODY. They have been
charged with taking part in an unsanctioned demonstration and for not
obeying an order from the police. These are "administrative offences"
than can lead to up to 15 days imprisonment. The view is that because
they were released quickly, they will, if found guilty, be fined. The
court hearing has not yet been scheduled.
23:30. Alexey Davidov, who was briefly detained by the militia (OMON) - see entry
for 15:45, has been talking about his treatment while detained. He was
in the militia bus and says he was treated well. When told he could
leave, he was advised to be careful when leaving, the militia being
concerned for his safety. An anti-gay protester also in the bus passed
comment to the militia that "these gays are not men". The militia
replied with a question: "Did you serve in the military yourself?". No
was the reply from the protester. "So don't say you are a man," the
Most Russian gay websites have suddenly "gone down" and presumably have been
blocked. Both GayRussia.ru and Gay.ru are not available, along with
other sites. It is not know why they are "down', but activists in
Moscow suspect some form of censorship and even pressure being put on
Russian hosting companies.
The police have confirmed that the owner of the apartment, where the four
gay activists were arrested, was not present when entry was forced.
They also confirmed that there was no court order for them to force entry.
Activists say that the arrest of the four, together with the forcing of the
door, were illegal and pledge to take the matter through the court
system. Activists went to the Tverskoy Police Station to deliver food
and drinks for their colleagues who are being detained. It is still
not known about any charges that have been brought against the four.
The four activists have been arrested and taken to Tverskoy Police Station.
The head of the police is reported to have asked one of the activists if he
thought it "was normal to organise all that". The activist replied
that "the fight is only starting - you did not leave us any choice".
POLICE HAVE JUST FORCED THE DOOR OPEN
German MP Volker Beck has told activists that the German Embassy is speaking
to the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry to express "their deep concern" at
Police are threatening the four activists they have under siege that
they will plant drugs when they eventually get it - and then arrest the four
for drug dealing, the activists are saying.
Someone saying he is from the prosecutors office has arrived at the
apartment and has demanded that the door is opened.
Police are reported to be trying to gain access to the apartment by forcing
their way in. The four activists say "there is light coming through
the keyhole". They also report that the police are carrying out their
forced entry siltently.
Volker Beck, the openly gay German MP and Green Party whip, has issued a
statement. Mr. Beck is a "veteran" of Moscow Pride - he suffered cuts
to the head in Moscow in 2006. "I just called my foreign office to ask
them for help and assistance for the four people in the apartment," he said
by email to UK Gay News.
"I ask the Russian Authorities to respect their own laws and
constitution, and the freedoms of their citizens guaranteed by the European
Human Rights Convention. Gays and lesbians enjoy the same rights and
fundamental freedoms as anybody else. This should be accepted also by
Russian courts and administration."
Police allowed Interfax and RTR (the main TV channel in
Russia) access into the building, where the four activists are under siege,
to do an interview "through the door".
Nepomnjaschij. who is supervising the operations inside the apartment with
the three other activists, reported by telephone the gist of the interview:
are you going to stay there, the journalists asked? Do you have food ?
are not going to beat the record of the blockade of Leningrad but we will
stay. We have food here and everything, Kirill Nepomnjaschij replied.
addressing the police through the door he said that if they were
looking for Nikolai Alekseev, he is not here. You will not arrest him.
Most of the gay activists who took part today are celebrating a "victory"
with a party at a secret location. But they are concerned over their
four comrades who are still under siege in the apartment. The latest
news is that the police are reported to have cut off the electrical suppy to
the entire building.
The four activists are still trapped in the flat. But they are
reporting that they are fine. Russian news agency Interfax reported a
few minutes ago that the apartment door is heavily damaged, but is still
Alexey Davidov, who was arrested by the police in front the city hall while
fighting with anti gay protesters, was later released from the police bus.
Police did not take him to the police station, and they did not check his
documents. So, as of now, no gay activist has been officially
arrested. It remains unclear if the police will try to enter the apartment
and arrest the four people there
Nothing further has been heard from Moscow. Pictures are now being
Russian media is reporting that gay rights defenders succeeded in organising
a Gay Pride in Moscow.
Four gay activists are trapped in the apartment block. Three uniformed
police officers with two, presumably, plain-clothed officers, are still
trying to break-down the door.
Police prevent reporters from getting into apartment building.
Activists trapped in apartment, but are being interviewed over the
telephone. AFP lead the foreign press pack. Nikolai Alexeyev
tells press that it is a blow for the Mayor that he was not able to prevent
the banner being displayed in front of City Hall for the world to see.
Nikolai Alexeyev reports: “We have called the foreign media to let
them know that the police are trying to breakdown the apartment door.”
Activist Alexey Davydov has been arrested. He was in some sort of a
fight with anti-gay protesters
Police are trying to break the door of the apartment where the activists
are. Without a court order, this is a breach of private property - and
The action was over ten minutes ago. Nikolai Alexeyev reports:
“The Police Chief arrived to witness his incompetence in being able to
prevent out two actions.”
Anti-gay protesters and police are bewildered. They don't know where
the gay demonstrators are! 250 balloons have been released and are now
flying over Moscow.
Nikolai Alexeyev reports: “As we told our people our plan beforehand,
there are no gays on the square opposite City Hall. We are all safe in
Activists unfurl a six metre banner in front of City Hall. The banner,
displayed on a second floor apartment across the street read: .“Rights to
gays and lesbians - homophobia of mayor Luzhkov to be prosecuted”.
Second “action” in front of City Hall started five minutes ago.
No one was arrested at the Tchaikovsky statue. Picket lasted for ten
minutes .. there were chants of “Tchaikovsky was also gay”, “no to
homophobes” and “equal rights for LGBT”. A police car arrived
five minutes after the demonstration started. The police informed the OMON, but was too late as the location is not too easy to reach by
Moscow police and OMON have been fooled. Nikolai Alexeyev reports:
“Gay picket at Moscow took place fifteen minutes ago in front of the
Tchaikovsky statue. Police were not there.”
were 35 people on the demonstration ...they unveiled a banner and flag.
There were journalist present ...
Nikolai Alexeyev reports: “Kurt Krickler from HOSI Wien, the Austrian
LGBT organisation is with me, with a few journalists. Kurt is a veteran of
Moscow Pride .. he came in 2006 and 2007 when he was severely beaten. We are
already discussing about next year when our march will be at the same time
than the Eurovision Song Contest.”
The OMON (anti riot police) are positioned all along Tversakaya Street. The
place in front of the City Hall where we planed to meet is, like last year
blocked, by fences. Five buses of OMON are parked on the square. Other buses
are parked in key access road to Tverskaya.
One hour to go ... Everything is going as planned.
The Nationalist group RONS, who attacked Moscow Pride in both 2006 and 2007
is said to be meeting at Metro Puschkinskaya, located on the Puschkin
Square, at 1pm.. This square is a 5minute walk from the City Yall.
Yesterday, several groups hosted an authorised picket asking to release
political prisoners. The place is also famous for having the first McDonalds
in Moscow. Moscow was so curious to go there that customers were queuing for
hours all around the square. It was long, long ago.
Nikolai Alexeyev reports: “Three policemen have just tried to arrest
me. They did not succeed as I managed to escape in a car. I phoned the radio
station Echos Moscow and they reported the bungled arrest attempt.
Cat and mouse game continues ... Arresting leaders of demonstrations before
the event is not something new in Russia. This was inherited from the Soviet
tactics are that they either arrest before or just when a demonstration
leader arrives for the event. In the last two years, they only had the
second option for Alexeyev.
The Russian media is reporting that Moscow Gay Pride is happening today at
13:00 outside City Hall. Also reporting that there have been calls for the
criminal prosecution of the Moscow Mayor.
Nikolai Alexeyev reports: “At this time last year on Pride day, the
hotel where we gathered with the foreign politicians before to go to the
city hall was surrounded by police and secret services. They tried to
prevent us to go out by asking for our documents but one of my colleagues,
Sergey Konstantinov, who knows the laws by heart managed to get rid of this
police control. This year it's more difficult. There is no press
conference, no conference venue, no meeting point before ... hard for the
police to find anything out in advance!”
Nikolai Alexeyev reports: “Just left home — and I am already followed by a
guy .... Most probably secret services. The guy is not too good at his job
and I manage to escape from his surveillance. I am now calling Interfax
and Radio Echo Moskvi to report it. He might loose his pitiful job as
he failed ...at doing it well.”
Well, less than 18 hours to go! We have just seen an AFP news agency
Valiant March in Defiance of Ban”. Good to know that the
mainstream media is taking notice of
action for our basic human rights.
mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, is quoted by the agency as saying in a
message of support to Nikolai, our main organiser: “The insults and attacks
committed against your demonstrations are intolerable and I dare to hope
that the recent statements of Dmitry Medvedev... concerning progress in
are applied also in your case,” Delanoe said in the letter, seen by AFP.
MOSCOW PRIDE 2007
■ London-based gay human rights activist Peter Tatchell
of Outrage! shrugs off injury to his right eye to display a poster as he
stood alongside a police van close to Moscow's City Hall.
photo courtesy Outrage!
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Licence.
First Post: 31 May 2008 at
17:00 (UK time)