News / Europe

    Moscow Gays Protest Russia's New Propaganda Ban

    Policemen break up a fight between a gay rights activist and an anti-gay rights activist (in yellow) during a protest against a proposed new law termed by the lower house of Parliament, as "against advocating the rejection of traditional family values" in central Moscow June 11, 2013.
    Policemen break up a fight between a gay rights activist and an anti-gay rights activist (in yellow) during a protest against a proposed new law termed by the lower house of Parliament, as "against advocating the rejection of traditional family values" in central Moscow June 11, 2013.
    James Brooke
    Moscow’s gays and their supporters rallied Wednesday with rainbow flags -- only 24 hours after Russia’s Parliament passed a law that effectively bans gay-pride parades or speaking publicly in defense of gay rights.

    The gays marched amid an anti-Kremlin opposition rally that drew about 10,000 protesters to a Moscow park.

    Between the red flags of the communists and the black flags of the anarchists, the gay activists walked bunched together, waving their rainbow flags, but appeared visibly nervous.  They eyed the black uniformed police that cut occasionally through the marchers.

    Vitaly held a brightly colored gay-rights sign.  But he talked with a nervous stutter.

    "In any normal country, [there] should not be a law like this, said Vitaly, a 19-year-old computer student.  So, it is really negative.  It really makes no sense.  And my friends, who are mostly not gay, also understand the law is absurd and that something wicked is happening now in our country," said Vitaly.

    Critics respond

    The day before, about 20 gay activists gathered outside Russia’s Parliament building to protest the vote.  Right-wing militants attacked and beat the activists.  Then, police made their move - they arrested the gay protesters.

    Anna, a 22-year-old linguistics student, talked as her rainbow flag fluttered in the summer breeze.

    I know that yesterday people were beaten up, and they were arrested, she said.  And I am actually very scared that this is the last opportunity for me to freely come and not be arrested.

    At the Duma, the vote was 436 - 0, with one abstention.

    Ilya Ponomaryov, was the deputy who abstained.  On Wednesday, he marched in the opposition rally among the red flags of the "Left Front, a socialist group.

    He said he abstained because the language of the act was vague.  He also said he saw the legislation as part of a hard-right turn taken by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who seeks to bolster his support among traditional conservatives.

    A 51-year-old English teacher, Alexei Sinodov, was one of thousands of unaffiliated protesters who marched Wednesday.  He said the anti-gay law was just the latest in a series of restrictive laws passed since President Putin returned to the Kremlin one year ago.
    The same undemocratic law, he said. I have nothing against the gays, the lesbians — they can do whatever they like.

    Public-opinion polls indicate large majorities of Russians are hostile to homosexuality. At best, they want it to be kept hidden away from the public.  

    Anna, the lesbian marcher, says the Kremlin seeks to rally popular support by attacking internal enemies.

    "We are easy to kick, so they are kicking us," she said.

    You May Like

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora