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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 22, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 43
International News - Rex Wockner
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International News

by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

Euro court will rule October 21 on Russian pride bans
The European Court of Human Rights will hand down its ruling October 21 in a group of consolidated cases dealing with bans on Gay pride parades in Russia.

'I was waiting for this day so long that I have tears,' said Moscow Pride founder Nikolai Alekseev, who filed numerous cases with the court.

Alekseev has fought a five-year battle with recently fired Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov to hold pride parades in Moscow.

Each year, Luzhkov banned the gathering and sent riot police to beat and arrest small groups of people who defied him.

Luzhkov called Gay parades 'a satanic act' and 'weapons of mass destruction.' And he called Gays 'gomiki,' which Russian media have translated as 'faggots.'

On September 15, Alekseev was kidnapped at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport by unidentified state agents, held for more than two days and pressured to drop the ECHR cases. He was later dumped on the outskirts of a city more than 100 miles south of Moscow. He said the kidnappers called him a 'faggot,' drugged him, and used his cell phone to send fake text messages to news reporters.

Earlier this month, the Lenin District Court in St. Petersburg ruled that a city ban of the Gay pride parade there had been illegal.

It was the first time Russian Gay activists had won any lawsuit over the issue. The court has yet to release its final opinion. The plaintiffs had argued that the ban violated Russia's constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Meanwhile, Alekseev was among a group of about 30 people arrested October 12 in front of Moscow City Hall.

The 'Day of Anger' demo, which attracted about 200 protesters, targeted government corruption, civil rights abuses, and unconstitutional practices.

Alekseev said five other members of his organization, Gay Russia, were among those taken into custody.

'We decided to rally together with other human rights activists and opposition forces to celebrate the departure of Mayor Luzhkov from office,' he said.

Thousands riot against Belgrade pride and trash the city
Thousands of anti-Gay hooligans tried without success to stop the first LGBT pride parade in nine years in Belgrade, Serbia, October 10.

However, the rioting anti-Gays laid waste to parts of the capital city and injured more than 130 police officers by throwing bricks, rocks, bottles, and Molotov cocktails.

They burned cars, hijacked a bus, broke windows, looted, set alight the ruling party's headquarters, and attacked and damaged other political parties' offices, the state television building and embassies.

They chanted, 'Death to homosexuals.'

More than 5,000 police officers kept the marauding gangs from making contact with the 1,000 LGBT marchers. More than 200 of the rioters were arrested.

'Inside the [secure] zone [of the parade] it was peaceful, with most of the pride participants unaware of the battles going on,' Andy Harley of UK Gay News said from the scene. Serbian President Boris Tadic said the hooligans all will be arrested and brought to justice.

'No one threatening public order, attacking police and destroying public property will go unpunished,' he said. The European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association said: 'ILGA-Europe wants to express its gratitude to Serbian police for impeccable conduct of their duty. We express our deepest sympathy to those police representatives and their family members who suffered injuries.'

The group also said it is 'concerned that despite heavy police protection, the March for Equality was shortened and participants of the march were completely isolated from the general public.'

'We believe the next challenge for the Serbian authorities and the police will be to ensure the proportionality of security measures with the true spirit of free assembly - delivering a message which on this occasion was compromised,' ILGA said. Last year's planned pride march was canceled under pressure from police and the government, who said they couldn't protect the marchers from thousands of anti-Gays who planned to attack the event.

The first Belgrade pride parade, in 2001, ended with dozens of marchers injured by marauding nationalists, skinheads and soccer fans.

Jalisco governor: Gay marriage gives me nausea
The governor of Mexico's Jalisco state said October 8 that Gay marriage gives him 'nausea.'

Speaking at the Second Ibero-American Family Summit, Gov. Emilio González Márquez said: 'For me, it's marriage if it's a man and a woman, because what they want, one is the old-fashioned and one is, well, the other still, as they say, I haven't lost the bit of nausea.'

The Spanish word he used - 'asquito' - quickly became a trending hashtag on Twitter in Mexico.

Belarus Gay activist arrested
Belarusian Gay leader Sergey Praded was arrested October 11 in Minsk while attempting to stage a picket for International Coming Out Day.

He was held overnight and fined 700,000 rubles ($233), the equivalent of a month's average salary in the nation.

Praded and activist Sergey Androsenko have a case pending with the United Nations Human Rights Committee stemming from their arrests last June outside the Iranian Embassy in Minsk, where they sought to draw attention to the plight of LGBT Iranians.

They say their right to freedom of assembly was violated by state authorities.

Belarus is not a member of the Council of Europe, so the activists cannot appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, which is where other cases have ended up when Gays' legal rights have been trampled in Eastern Europe.

With assistance from Bill Kelley

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