2007-03-20 16:34:00

Rights groups oppose ban on Moscow gay pride parade

Moscow, March 20, Interfax - The Moscow authorities should give the go-ahead to gay pride parades, head of Human Rights Watch's Russian office Alison Gil told Interfax on Tuesday.

"The parade must be authorized. I see no reasons for banning it in Moscow," a ban would be a human rights abuse, she said.

"It is against the law to ban marches. The law forbids the authorities from banning marches. A different venue can be offered only after convincing arguments are provided," head of Moscow's Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alexeyeva said.

"Russian law protects the rights of sexual minorities, but in fact sexual minorities are opposed not only by the authorities, but also by the public. Life is not easy for these people in this country, as their rights are abused," Alexeyeva said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Russian Orthodox Church urged the authorities to ban a gay pride parade in Moscow.

It was announced on Monday that an organizing committee had been set up for a gay pride parade set to be held in Moscow on May 27 to mark the 14th anniversary of the annulment of the criminal prosecution of homosexuality.