A protest rally held in Moscow by a group of activists representing the LGBT, women's, anti-fascist and left-wing movements, ended in a violent confrontation with neo-Nazi groups on Saturday, 1 October.
According to Margaret, a member of the Raduga Association (Moscow), and a participant in the rally the goal of the event was to protest against chauvinistic populism as the trend of the current election campaign involving stigmatisation and appeals for discrimination of the more vulnerable segments of the society.
There is a draft bill restricting women's right to abortion in Russia's parliament and 'gay propaganda' is now illegal in two regions.
The protest was sanctioned by the Moscow government, fascist groups had widely announced their intention to gather at the same place and “bathe in blood” the perceived “enemies of the Russian people”.
One organiser was immediately arrested by the police solely for carrying a (yet unfolded) poster saying “Say No to Discrimination on the Basis of Gender and Sexual Orientation.”
|Pic: Zuban_leb, socialistworld.ru|
One older counter-protester said:
“We wanted to see these demons, these beast in the flesh, for ourselves. It is because of them that God will punish the holy Russia and its people. They want to exterminate the holy nation of Russ.”Younger fascists chanted calls to beat, torture and exterminate gays - incitement which met with little reaction on the part of the police.
The main slogans of the protesters were: “We stand for the freedom of choice!”, “Free and Safe Motherhood – Children that are Loved and Needed – Happy Families”, “If you say embryo is human, why are women not human for you?” But when gay rights was mentioned police began grabbing people from the rally.
After it was finally decided to curtail the event ahead of scheduled time, to prevent more protesters from being arrested, the activists had to be convoyed by the police to the metro station, surrounded by a raging crowd (see video). The police counteracted attempts by several able-bodied men to punch and kick young women, but several people later complained of bruises and minor injuries.
The main organiser of the repeatedly banned Moscow Pride, Nicolas Alexeyev, noted inaccurate reports of the rally as "First Gay Pride was authorized in Moscow".
Alexeyev pointed out that reports of Russian authorities allowing gay events have been used before by Russia to claim they are not banned.
At the last appearance of Russia at the Universal Periodic Review by the UN Human Rights Committee, Russia was asked why they kept banning LGBT public events.
- Video of the rally speakers (in Russian)