Pride on the streets of Moscow
Your first worry for what’s happening in Moscow this weekend might concern whether the Eurovision Song Contest taking place there onSaturday evening will see a repeat of recent years’ shameless vote casting fornear neighbours rather than musical talent.
But actually local gay rights activists will be doingsomething much more important on the streets of Moscow from midday on Saturday –holding a Gay Pride parade, even though the local authorities have banned the event and previous years’ attempts have been greeted by violent counter-demonstrations.
At the same time, Amnesty activists from more than 20countries will be joining local activists for the first ever Baltic Pride in Riga, Latvia – which will see gay people from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia coming together to demand their rights to live free from hate and discrimination.The last several days have seen the Riga city authorities try to ban Baltic Pride too, but thankfully the Latvian courts have intervened and said themarch can go ahead legally. Our own Matt Beard will be blogging from Riga all weekend.
The sad fact is that gay people across many Eastern European countries face considerable hostility from politicians and the wider community. In Russia, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Croatia,Moldova and Kosovo gay people have seen local politicians trying to stop themholding Pride events or have faced persecution for their human rights work. Now is a crucial time for human rights activists everywhere to stand in solidarity with gay communities in eastern Europe.
If you want a tip for the Song Contest, the safe money must be on the host!
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.