A Russian city was going to be the first to hold a Pride parade before banning it.
The mayor of Strezhevoy reportedly got ‘cold feet’, fearing it could contravene the ‘gay propaganda’ ban.
Nikolay Alexeev, a LGBTI rights activist in Russia, said the Tomsk region city parade was scheduled for 24 July.
‘Strezhevoy may become the first town in Russia where the gay parade procession will take place with the approval of the authorities,’ he said.
He also posted a letter from the Strezhevoy government on VK.
Russian city allows, then bans, Pride parade
It said the march would be allowed as long as it did not take place in the immediate vicinity of schools. Officials also asked Alexeev to plan the march at 8pm to 10pm.
The timing, allegedly, was ‘for the purpose of eliminating road traffic’.
But, then, he later said the mayor got ‘cold feet’.
He posted another letter from officials saying they were withdrawing permission.
The mayor cited a law to protect children from knowledge of ‘unconventional sexual relationships’.
It also said the Pride event could be seen as ‘gay propaganda’. The town could also not ensure the ‘safety’ of participants.
Campaign for a Pride parade in Russia
Alexeev has asked for permission to hold Pride parades in dozens of cities across Russia.
His campaign covers 378 cities of Russia. Any city that rejects a Pride parade is also going through the individual courts before it is compiled into an ongoing case that will be heard at the European Court of Human Rights.
Russian authorities have been banning Pride events for years in order not to promote LGBTI lifestyles to children. Former Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov also labeled Pride ‘satanic’.
Federal laws passed on 29 June 2013 ban the distribution of ‘propaganda’ to minors encouraging ‘non-traditional sexual relationships’.
The city of Moscow denied 100 individual requests to hold Moscow Pride through 2012. They cited a risk of violence against participants as the main reason for the parade not to go ahead.
Moreover, the first government-approved Pride march in Russia got banned in August 2018 within 24 hours of approval.
The parade was due to take place in the village of Yabloneviy, outside Novoulyanovsk, 500 miles east of Moscow.
What’s more, 30 participants were detained for trying to hold an LGBTI march in St. Petersburg on 4 August 2018.