2010-08-25 18:32:00

Gays to protest with opposition activists in Moscow

Moscow, August 25, Interfax - Russian gay rights activists will gather alongside opposition campaigners who will defend their constitutional right to free assembly at an unsanctioned rally in Moscow on August 31.

"On August 31, myself and a number of my associates are going to personally go to Triumfalnaya Square in Moscow along with the Strategy 31 organizers and participants to express our protest against systemic violations of the right to freedom of assembly in Russia," prominent Russian gay rights activist Nikolay Alexeyev told Interfax.

After that, gay rights activists will be ready to raise the issue of "joining the Strategy 31 organizing committee as part of preparations for another rally on October 31," he said.

Hopefully, "our participation in Strategy 31 will be perceived adequately and that eventually the movement's organizers will speak out in support of and take part in the sixth gay pride parade that will be held in Moscow in late May next year," Alexeyev said.

The Moscow gay pride parade organizers have decided to officially back the Strategy 31 movement. The movement holds public rallies across Russia on the last day of each month with 31 days in support of the right to peaceful assembly guaranteed by Article 31 of the Russian constitution.

Moscow gay pride parade organizers fully share the goals and tasks of Strategy 31, that is the fight for freedom of assembly, Alexeyev said.

Like every Strategy 31 rally, every gay rights protest in Moscow has been banned by the authorities. Both groups have held unsanctioned actions, where the police have used excessive force to break up the protests.