Nikolai Alexeyev remained true to his word
— on Saturday, May 28, gay activists
defied Moscow authorities and took to the streets to celebrate
It turned out to be a costly move and became yet another example of the
city’s intolerance of gays.
In 2010 the European Court of Human Rights
determined that Moscow’s ban on the Pride parade (from 2006 to 2008) breached
the European Convention on Human Rights.
The ruling said that “the main reason for the bans on the gay
marches had been the authorities’ disapproval of demonstrations, which, they
considered, promoted homosexuality.”
Alexeyev was determined there would be a parade in 2011, and
for a brief time it looked like it would happen. It had been reported
that the new mayor was in favour of Pride and that the march would go on with
the city’s approval.
The report turned out to be wrong and authorities, once
again, banned the parade.
Saturday’s march ended in violence as neo-Nazis ambushed the
march and attacked the gay activists.
Moscow police jumped into the fray and
arrested people from both factions, including a prominent US gay rights
activist, Dan Choi.
Choi was allowed to take his cellphone into the prison with
him, and he did what any good activist would do — tweeted about his experience.
was released after several hours, while his Russian counterparts were kept in
Before the march, Choi posted a video, explaining his reasons for
being in Moscow.
In all, eight people were arrested. According to The Advocate, one activist, Anna Komarova, was pressured by the police to give
information about Moscow Pride's organization.
Alexeyev was not arrested; in fact, it is not known if he
even attended Pride. The Moscow News writes that Alexeyev had hurt his foot on
the Thursday before the rally and that Choi had tweeted that Alexeyev was safe and in hiding.
I find that a little disappointing, but I am sure that in
the next few weeks Alexeyev will come out of hiding and once again speak up for
gays rights in Russia.
UPDATE: A new video with UK gay activist Peter Tatchell speaking about the events in Moscow. Tatchell managed to wrestle himslef free from the police and escape capture.