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Russia warns activists against defying ban on Moscow Pride

Russia warns activists against defying ban on Moscow Pride

Nikolai Alekseev, co-founder of Moscow Pride and GayRussia, has received a warning from the Russian General Prosecution not to go ahead with a planned Moscow Pride tomorrow.

Earlier today (24 May) security officers twice served a warning to Alekseev at his Moscow home.

Last year, Moscow’s highest court ruled to ban gay pride parades in the Russian capital for the next century.

Alekseev told Gay Star News: ‘Officers visted my home twice earlier today, serving a warning to me, my mother and fellow Moscow Pride organizer Sonya Mikhailova, not to go ahead with the event tomorrow or else we face prosecution according to Russian law.

‘The Russian General Prosecution also published a press release stating this.’

On Tuesday (22 May) the Council of Europe demanded Russia must act to guarantee the right of LGBT people to freedom of expression and demonstration and allow Moscow Pride to go ahead.

Alekseev said all legal avenues have now been exhausted before the planned date, and the eighth Moscow Pride will go ahead without authorities permission.

Alekseev left his home earlier today for a safe location, citing security reasons: ‘I’m sure if I stayed at home, they would detain me as to delay Moscow Pride and attempt at intimidation.

‘I don’t know what will happen tomorrow and how many people will be courageous enough to turn up for Moscow Pride.

‘Anti-gay protesters will definitely show up in big numbers are likely to physically assault Moscow pride participants.

Alekseev added that participants may face significant fines according to a new law banning ‘unsanctioned demonstrations’” as well as being detained for up to 15 days for ‘disobedience to police orders’ and subject to other penalties according to Russia laws.

‘That is why we’ve underlined the risks and consequences for all participants,’ he said.

He added: ‘This is the biggest ever pressure on organizers of Moscow Pride since its foundation in 2006 who are simply engaging in a peaceful public event highlighting the issues of the LGBT Russian community.

‘LGBT events are being banned all over Russia and parliament is planning to pass a nationwide law banning the so-called “propaganda of homosexuality”.

‘This is the eighth year in a row we are trying to peacefully conduct Moscow Pride, but this time we face unprecedented pressure in terms of laws, bans and threats.

‘I’m also disappointed with yesterday’s decision of the European Court of Human Rights to not intervene with the authorities before Moscow Pride takes place.

‘What’s the use of forcing Russia to compensate us financially for breach human rights conventions, after Moscow Pride participants will try to exercise their right to freedom of expression and face assault, imprisonment and fines?

‘Civil rights and freedom of Russian citizens are being increasingly suppressed since Putin got re-elected.

‘This is affecting all Russians, not just gay activists, but journalists, civil rights advocates, talented people who are giving up and leaving the country realizing they face unprecedented oppression and that they only live once.

‘It just goes to prove that Russia doesn’t care about human rights conventions and its obligations to the Council of Europe’.