From Russia, With Love

28 May 2007

In January of this year, Moscow mayor Yuriy Luzhkov vowed to never allow a gay pride parade through his city, calling such events "satanic." Yesterday, gay rights activists attempted to present the mayor with a petition to lift the ban. In response, "Russian police detained gay protesters ... while nationalists shouting 'death to homosexuals' punched and kicked the demonstrators." According to Human Rights Watch, "[t]here was no real attempt to separate the two sides and that led to people being beaten up." Pictured on the left is one Russian nationalist just about to punch a gay rights campaigner in the face. However, police chose to arrest the peaceful protesters rather than the violent counter-protesters.

Here are a few choice quotes:

  • "We believe these perverts should not be allowed to march on the streets of Moscow, the third Rome, a holy city for all Russians"
  • "It (homosexuality) is satanic"
  • "...a group of thick-set young men turned up with surgeon's masks, which they said would protect them from the 'gay disease.'"
  • "Moscow is not Sodom!"
The way that the Russian police handled this situation is really disgusting. One of the men taken away told the Associated Press that the police beat him, and others, seizing their passports in the process. Remarkably, none of the violent anti-gay protesters were seen being taken away by the police. But they did manage to apprehend the man being punched in the photo above.

What I also found somewhat surprising was this CNN poll. I know it's not scientific, and it's just based on what people on the internet clicked on, but still. I don't really understand how 29% (1179) of the people who read that article could then agree with Luzhkov that Moscow should not allow gay pride rallies. They're just peaceful people, assembling peacably. What's the big deal?

EDIT: They even got Right Said Fred!

EDIT #2: It looks like they did get some of the violent protesters.

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