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RUSSIA

From Russia with Gay Love
— Blogging from Moscow Pride

 

There will be no further updates on this page
 

UK Gay News is trying to repeat the “live blogging” at Moscow Gay Pride that was so popular last year.  But there are problems this year as LGBT activists are determined to stage an “unauthorised demonstration” outside Mayor Yuri Luzhkov’s City Hall in downtown Moscow.

No one really knows what will happen …

We will be relying on information coming through from Moscow via whatever means is available — from email, Skype and other messengers, and good old fashioned telephone.

All times are Moscow Time (UTC plus 4 hours)

 


 



 

 
■ 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

All times are Moscow Time (UTC plus 4 hours)

Photos from GayRussia.ru of the demonstration at the Tchaikovsky statue are HERE

TV footage of the demonstration outside Moscow City Hall by gay men and women in Moscow HERE (in Russian).  Two photos HERE

JUNE 2

15:00.  Moscow Pride chief organiser Nikolai Alekseev has said:  "With the release of the four activists, Moscow Pride is officially over".

14:50.  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.

Around a dozen anti-gay protesters were outside the court, so an operation was mounted to get the four from the court unscathed.

11:00.  The four were kept by police in the cells overnight.  They are due to appear in court about now.

01:05.  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.

00:40.  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.

JUNE 1

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 militia replied.

23:20.  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.

22:35.  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.

21:41:  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".

21:22.  POLICE HAVE JUST FORCED THE DOOR OPEN

21:20.  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 the siege

20:14.  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.

20:01.  Someone saying he is from the prosecutors office has arrived at the apartment and has demanded that the door is opened.

19:55:  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.

19:00.  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."

18:00.  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".

Kirill Nepomnjaschij.  who is supervising the operations inside the apartment with the three other activists, reported by telephone the gist of the interview:

How long are you going to stay there, the journalists asked?  Do you have food ?

Well, we 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.

Then 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.

17:20.  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.

16:40.  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 secure.

15:45.  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

15:20:  Nothing further has been heard from Moscow.  Pictures are now being sent.

14:30.  Russian media is reporting that gay rights defenders succeeded in organising a Gay Pride in Moscow.

14:10:  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.

14:00.  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.

3:55.  Nikolai Alexeyev reports:  “We have called the foreign media to let them know that the police are trying to breakdown the apartment door.”

13:53.  Activist Alexey Davydov has been arrested.  He was in some sort of a fight with anti-gay protesters

13:45:  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 illegal.

13:35:  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.”

13:30.  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.

13:25:  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 the apartment.”

13:20:  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”.

13:15:  Second “action” in front of City Hall started five minutes ago.

13:05:  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 car.

13:00.  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.”

There were 35 people on the demonstration ...they unveiled a banner and flag.  There were journalist present ...

12:15.  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.”

12:10.  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.

12:00.  One hour to go ... Everything is going as planned.

11:30:  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.

11:00.  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 time.”

Police 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.

10:30.  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.

10:00.  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!”

09:00.  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.”

MAY 31

20:00:  Well, less than 18 hours to go!  We have just seen an AFP news agency report headlined: “Moscow Gays Valiant March in Defiance of Ban”.  Good to know that the mainstream media is taking notice of tomorrow’s action for our basic human rights.

The 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 liberties 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!

 

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.  

First Post: 31 May 2008 at 17:00 (UK time)

 

 


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