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Saturday, 29 May 2010


by Juris Lavrikovs, ILGA-Europe's Communications Manager

28/5/2010- Arrival of the spring means the beginning of Pride season across Europe. This season LGBT people in Europe already experienced limitations of their constitutional right to peaceful assembly and even faced hateful and violent opposition.

Chiºinãu - Moldova
This year the Mayor of Chiºinãu again initiated a ban on a public event in supporting the adoption of anti-discrimination legislation. The court ruled that the planned peaceful demonstration can only take place in a park far from the city centre. The organisers, GenderDoc-M, rejected the alternative location for their event and plan to appeal this decision. Following the court decision they have cancelled their original demonstration in the central square.

Nikolaev – Ukraine
The Rainbow Spring LGBT Festival was organised by LiGA (Nikolaev, Ukraine) from 14-17 May. The Nikolaev authorities banned the festival's public events in 2008 and 2009, and thus the organisers included only private events in the 2010 festival programme such as round table discussions and community events. The local authorities and the Ukrainian Ombudsman's office were asked to be present at the round table discussions but declined to participate.

Baltic Pride – Vilnius (Lithuania)

This year's traditionally troubled Baltic Pride was scheduled to take place in Vilnius. It was the first time such event was organised in Lithuania. Considering previous bans and violent protests during other Pride events in the Baltics and strong opposition within Lithuania, this event attracted significant attention from and presence of European and international politicians and human rights organisations. ILGA-Europe organised two of its events in Vilnius to coincide with and to support the Baltic Pride. The permission for the planned March for Equality was temporarily suspended prior to the March, but successfully challenged in the court by the organisers. The March went ahead under heavy police protection and significant number of protesters. Despite some attempts to disturb the March and a smoke bomb thrown towards the marchers, the event went without any major incidents and no one was hurt.
Slavic Pride – Minsk (Belarus)
Just a week before the planned event, the organisers of the Slavic Pride in Minsk received a letter from Mr Mikhail Titenkov, deputy head of Minsk City Executive Committee, refusing permission for the Slavic Pride march to take place. The letter refers to Article 9 of the Law of Belarus Republic on the staging of public events and says that “public events are not allowed at the distance of less than 200 metres from underground pedestrian crossings and metro stations. About 20 activists defied the ban and went to the streets of Mink and were arrested by the militia. ILGA-Europe issued a statement condemning the ban of the Slavic Pride.

Rainbow Pride - Bratislava (Slovakia)
This was the first ever Pride event organised in Slovakia. While the Rainbow Pride March took place, its rout had to be changed and the marchers could not walk through the centre of Bratislava due to hundreds of neo-Nazi protesters disturbing the March and intimidating its participants. The police was criticized for the lack of resources and the number of police personal allocated to this event. At the same time this event was proclaimed as victory as it took place for the first time in Slovakia.

Moscow prepares to see the 6th banned LGBT Pride on 29 May (http://www.gayrussia.ru/en). A last decision on an appeal to the ban is expected from the Tverskij Court on 28 May. The ban on three pickets has been upheld by the Taganskij Court of the Moscow region, because of the negative effect on public transport and inability to guarantee for the security of the participants.

On 26 June a Pride event is planned to take place in St. Petersburg There is little hope for it to be sanctioned from authorities.

In the mean time, LGBT activists all over Russia are using different forms to bring visibility to the issue of homophobia. This year, more than 1000 people in 34 Russian cities took part in the public actions around the Rainbow Flashmob and the Day of Silence

ILGA Europe