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International News - Rex Wockner
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International News

by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

50,000 at EuroPride
Some 50,000 people turned out for the EuroPride parade, held in Zurich this year on June 6. Openly Lesbian Zurich Mayor Corine Mauch joined in.

Next year, the parade ventures behind the former Iron Curtain to Warsaw - a city that as recently as 2005 tried to ban pride, only to be later rebuffed by the European Court of Human Rights.

Meanwhile, Rome's Gay pride parade drew more than 100,000 participants June 13, with a demand for legalization of same-sex marriage and equal rights for Gay couples.

Some 1,500 people marched in Warsaw on June 13, also demanding legalization of same-sex partnerships. The parade, on central Marszalkowska Street, attracted fewer than 100 counterprotesters, who shouted anti-Gay vitriol.

Five hundred people marched in Zagreb, Croatia, on June 13. Police kept about 50 snarling anti-Gays from disrupting the parade.

About 3,500 people marched in Strasbourg, France, on June 13, and 2,000 marched in Athens.

China sees its first Gay pride week
China saw its first-ever Gay pride week June 7-14 in Shanghai.

Events included movies, plays, art exhibits, panel discussions, swimming and badminton competitions, and a big party, though at least one play and one film were ordered canceled by authorities.

Some 500 people attended a barbecue/drag show/fashion show/hot-body contest on June 13.

Organizers decided against holding a parade, saying it just didn't seem to be legally possible, according to China Daily.

"Shanghai Pride is a community-building exercise," co-organizer Tiffany Lemay told the English-language paper. "We hope to raise awareness of issues surrounding homosexuality, raise the visibility of the Gay community, help people within our community to come out, and build bridges between the Gay and straight communities."

20,000 march in Tel Aviv
Around 20,000 people joined Tel Aviv's 11th Gay pride parade June 12.

The march ended with a beach "wedding" of five Gay couples. Same-sex marriage is not legal in Israel.

Some top rabbis had urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to try to ban the parade. They called it an abomination.

A few religious right-wingers picketed the march, which was paid for by the city government.

Tel Aviv is more secular than Jerusalem, where the pride parade routinely leads large numbers of religious folks to wail and gnash.

Last year's parade in Jerusalem featured 3,000 marchers and 2,000 cops to protect them. They walked all of four blocks.

In 2007, the Jerusalem parade traveled about 500 meters before ultra-Orthodox protesters shut it down, despite the presence of 8,000 police officers. Prior to the parade, police arrested a man with a bomb. The post-parade rally was canceled because striking firefighters refused to provide a required firetruck.

In 2005, a counterdemontrator stabbed three marchers at Jerusalem's march and later was convicted of attempted murder. The victims' injuries were not serious.

Moscow Gays want to picket Obama
Moscow Pride founder Nikolai Alekseev says members of his group will attempt to stage a picket in favor of same-sex marriage at the U.S. Embassy on July 7 during President Barack Obama's visit.

It is unlikely the activists will receive city permission to do so. Mayor Yuri Luzhkov has banned pride parades for the past four years and sent riot police to aggressively arrest those who ignored the bans.

Luzhkov has called Gay parades "demonic," "satanic" and "weapons of mass destruction." He also has said the bans are for gays' own good so that "radical Christians" don't have a chance to "kill them."

Alekseev is hopeful that he'll be able to pull off the picket regardless because "the presidential media pack will be in town."

Australian prison OKs Gay conjugal visits
The Alexander Maconochie prison in Australia's Capital Territory has decided to let Gay inmates receive conjugal visits six times a year.

The policy applies to prisoners who are well-behaved and whose partner is not also incarcerated at the facility.

Reports said that the state of Victoria, where Melbourne is located, is the only other place in Australia where Gay inmates can have sex dates with their partners.

Denmark is not Gay nirvana
Denmark, the first nation in the world to legalize Gay partnerships in 1989, still has a problem with homophobia.

Eighteen percent of GLBT people in Copenhagen and 8 percent in other parts of the country say they've been discriminated against based on their sexual orientation in the past year, according to a report from the Center for Alternative Social Analysis.

GLBT people between ages 16 and 29 reported more problems than older people.

A total of 3,400 homophobic incidents were reported to police in 2008, the study said.

A report in the Politiken newspaper said Gay businesses also have been targeted.

Copenhagen's oldest Gay bar, Centralhjørnet, had rocks thrown through its windows six times in 2008. Patrons also have been bombed with eggs through the bar's open door.

With assistance from Bill Kelley

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