A Pride event in the Arctic circle is banned over ‘gay propaganda’ laws.
Police in the region of Salekhard, Russia, have banned around 300 gay rights activists from marching on 29 January.
The city administration cited the ban on ‘propaganda of non-traditional family relationships’. They also claimed the affectionately named ‘Polar Pride’ would be harmful to children’s ‘health and development”.
Nikolai Alexeyev, leader of Russian LGBTI group Moscow Pride, has helped several activists apply for permits to hold Pride parades across Russia.
Prides in Arkhangelsk,, Yekaterinburg, Cheylabinsk, Sarank, St Petersburg, Tula, Tver and Vladimir have all not been allowed.
‘It will, if necessary, brought to the European Court of Human Rights,’ Alexeyev said. He added the law is in violation of Russia’s constitution that states people must have the right to freedom of assembly.
If the Pride in Salekhard had been granted, it would have joined Tromsø, Norway as one of the only Prides to be held in the Arctic Circle.
Stein Sebastian Fredriksen, festival director of Tromsø Arctic Pride, told Gay Star News described Prides being banned in Russia as a ‘breach of human rights’.
‘Putin’s politics on gay and lesbian issues is a breach of human rights,’ he said. ‘It happens in broad daylight and nobody does anything about it. It makes me shocked, it makes me sad.’
‘Holding Prides in smaller communities is even more important than in bigger cities. In smaller communities, there’s not a lot going on and a lot more prejudice. It’s important to build an identity as a LGBT person and to give the greater society opportunities to celebrate diversity.
‘This is one of the best ways to celebrate as well as for societies to get to know each other.’
In a message to Russian LGBTI activists, Fredriksen said: ‘I give them my strong support. I want them to know democracies around the world are monitoring what is going on in Russia and we stand with them and support them.’
Tromsø Arctic Pride started in 2014 as a 10-day festival featuring a program of culture and politics. It is the northern-most Pride in the world, as well as likely the only time you will march at a Pride and spot the Northern Lights on the same day. The next one will take place from 4-12 November.