The Organizing Committee of the St. Petersburg LGBT Pride says they will attempt to hold Pride on 29 June, 2013 even though three previous attempts have resulted in arrests and harassment and the city’s ban on so called ‘homosexual propaganda’.
The committee further stated that Pride would be held in order to attract public attention to the LGBT people in the city, as well as promoting tolerance and equality.
Last year the city’s government agreed to allow Pride but then banned it only two days before the event was scheduled to take place (7 July 2012).
Despite the sudden ban activists tried to hold Pride but were detained by police for organizing an unsanctioned event. Pride has also been banned in 2011 and 2010.
During the trial of the eight detained organizers, Yury Gavrikov and Maria Efremenkova proved their innocence and police malpractice.
Speaking with Gay Star News, Gavrikov said: ‘Pride this year will also commemorate a landmark anniversary; 20 years ago, on 27 May 1993, the Russian Duma repealed the notorious law criminalizing gay sex that was used to detain thousands of people during the Soviet times.
‘20 years later, history takes a turn for the worse – the Duma is in the process of a new national anti-gay law banning the ‘promotion of homosexuality among minors’.
In November 2011, St Petersburg’s legislature adopted at first reading a law banning ‘propaganda’ of ‘homosexualism, bisexualism, transgenderism and pedophilia’.
After delays and debates the legislative assembly of Saint Petersburg approved the law, and the city’s governor signed it taking effect on 30 March 2012.
Gavrikov commented: ‘Lawsuits against St. Petersburg’s ban on LGBT public events and its anti-gay laws have been won in local courts.
‘We have been informed that a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on our case against the banning of Pride march in 2010 will be delivered later this year.
‘We are confident that the verdict will be similar to the case of the ECHR "Alekseev vs. Russia’ which ruled the ban against Moscow Pride as breaching the European Convention of which Russia is a signatory.
‘Taken together these are substantial rulings by several courts that show St. Petersburg Pride has been banned illegally.
‘We, as a social group, believe in the right to hold public events and will insist on it by all possible means, including going ahead with Pride which was illegally banned by the authorities’.