By Paul Canning
LGBT activists defied homophobic Mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov and the courts who tried to ban them and paraded a 20-meter long Rainbow flag along a busy street in the centre of the city today.
According to Andy Harley, reporting for UK Gay News, "the police were totally out-witted after falling for all the 'mis-information' put out over the last few days. There was not a policeman in sight as the long flag was paraded for about 500 metres. One cop car arrived about five minutes after the activists has dispersed - and the media were by then doing interviews with both Russian and foreign participants."
A video report by TV1 (France) shows the preparations and interviews Louis-George Tin, Idaho founder.
Activists quickly uploaded this video to YouTube of the brief parade.
Peter Tatchell attending his fourth Moscow Pride called the event a 'flashmob' and tweeted "Up yours mayor luzhkov". In a statement he said:
This was the fifth Moscow Gay Pride and the first one with no arrests and bashings. It was also the first time activists succeeded in staging an uninterrupted parade.
The Russian gay activists have won a big political and moral victory. They staged their Gay Pride march, despite it being banned by the Mayor and the judges, and despite the draconian efforts by the police and FSB security services to prevent it from taking place.
I pay tribute to the courage and ingenuity of the Russian gay and lesbian activists. They outwitted the Mayor and his police henchmen.
Today’s events felt like steeping back into the Soviet era, when protests were routinely banned and suppressed. It is madness that Russian gay rights campaigners are being treated as criminals, just like dissidents in the period of communist dictatorship.
The real criminals are not the peaceful Gay Pride protesters but the Moscow Mayor and judges who banned this protest. They are the law breakers. They should be put on trial for violating the Russian constitution.
The EU, US and UK governments have shamefully failed to condemn the banning of Moscow Gay Pride. They support Gay Pride events in Poland and Latvia, but not in Moscow. Why the double standards?”
Western ambassadors to Russia offered no support to the Moscow Gay Pride organisers. They ignored suggestions that they host Gay Pride events in their embassy grounds and that they fly the gay rainbow flag on Moscow Pride day, 29 May.