News / Europe

    Russian Gays Protest Against Moscow Mayor

    James Brooke

    Moscow police have dispersed a gay rally and detained several protesters in the Russian capital.  The demonstrators had been protesting the policies of Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who has called homosexuals "satanic" and stopped attempts to hold a gay pride rally in the city.  

    Busloads of riot police, phalanxes of policewomen in bullet proof vests, and German shepherds tugging at their leashes greeted a small gathering of gay activists outside Moscow's City Hall to demand the resignation of Mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

    Police officers strong armed the activists into waiting prison buses.  Policemen with bullhorns urged journalists to move along.

    At first glance, it would seem to be business as usual in Moscow, a city that has been run with a heavy hand by Yury Luzhkov since the fall of communism two decades ago.

    Across the street, at the ornate pre-revolutionary City Hall building, the lights were on.  But Mayor Luzhkov was in Austria marking his 74th birthday - and, by all accounts, mulling over the Kremlin's advice to think about his future options.

    The media here are portraying Mayor Luzhkov as losing his grip on power.  NTV, a Kremlin-controlled station, lambasted Luzhkov's wife, Moscow construction magnate Yelena Baturina.

    Baturina shot back in an interview with New Times magazine, claiming that "all of this is done for one person only - the president."

    She said she was mystified by the silence of Prime Minister Putin, ostensibly her ally.  She complained: "I do not understand why both leaders pretend nothing is happening when the country is going nuts."

    But on Monday, TV Center, a channel controlled by the City Hall, abruptly pulled a pro-Luzhkov TV documentary that was scheduled to air.  According to promotions for the program, the documentary was to reveal the so-called "truth" behind accusations against the mayor by  "shadowy figures" within President Medvedev's Kremlin.

    With the media entrenched in covering the city's political drama, dozens of cameras and microphones focused on the city's small gay rights group, the only group that has dared this week to schedule a protest against the mayor.

    Nikolai Alekseyev, a gay rights activist, criticized Mayor Luzhkov for banning gay pride parades, and using slurs in public against gays.

    "Everyone should understand that this person should leave as fast as possible," said Nikolai Alekseyev. "There should be another mayor who will bring new blood to this city, who will change this city to make it a truly European city."

    He added:

    "He said we are satanic people, that we are responsible for the HIV epidemic in the city," said Alekseyev. "He said that we are weapons of mass destruction of the West, and that we are immoral and all the possible things, all the nasty thing about gay people.  Even though he was very easily and without any problems shaking the hands of homosexuals mayors of European cities  - including the Mayor of Paris, the Mayor of Berlin."

    Legally, Russia, as a member of the Council of Europe, has to guarantee the freedom of expression and assembly.  Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, but in the streets the reality is clearly very different as intolerance remains widespread.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora