Moscow OKs First Gay Pride March

Published: April 26, 2011

Moscow authorities on Tuesday agreed to allow for the first time a Gay Pride march to proceed, The Moscow News reported.

Gay rights activists were jubilant at the news. “This is a crippling blow to Russian homophobia on all counts,” Nikolai Alexeyev, head of Moscow Pride, said.

The former administration of Yury Luzhkov banned such events for the past five years and aggressively shut down any unauthorized demonstrations.

Last January, Luzhkov vowed to “crack down” on gay pride parades.

“For several years, Moscow has experienced unprecedented pressure to conduct a gay pride parade, which cannot be called anything but a Satanic act,” Luzhkov said. “We have prevented such a parade and we will not allow it in the future. Everyone needs to accept this as an axiom.”

“It is high time to crack down on the parade with all the power and justice of the law, instead of talking about human rights,” he added.

During two separate events last year, gay rights activists defied authorities and marched for greater rights.

About 25 people carrying banners and shouting “No discrimination on the grounds of orientation” marched for about 10 minutes on The Arbat, a shop-lined street popular with tourists visiting Moscow.

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