The furore around last weekend’s chaotic Moscow gay Pride event, which degenerated into violence, has continued into the past week.
On Friday, Moscow police confirmed that they had opened a criminal investigation into the assault on British gay rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, who was attacked by right-wing protesters at the event.
But Tatchell is not convinced that all is above board:
“In a press statement issued on 27 May, Moscow police spokesperson, Evgeni Gildeyev, claimed that the man who punched me had been identified and arrested. This is untrue,” says Tatchell, who claims that another officer confirmed to him that the assailant is unknown and has not been arrested.
“The false claim that the police have arrested my attacker looks like a public relations ploy to convince people that the Moscow police are taking action. It appears to be a crude bid to placate international indignation over the police failure to protect me and other Gay Pride participants. I have little confidence that the assailant will be arrested and put on trial,” he said.
Tatchell, who is a Green Party parliamentary candidate in the U.K., has called on people to “ask their local MPs to send a letter of protest to the Russian embassy.”
In Germany, Claudia Roth, the chairperson of the Green Party, has asked Chancellor Angela Merkel to bring up the Pride fiasco with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at the G8 summit which is being hosted in Germany next week.
Speaking to The Guardian newspaper, Roth said, “It has been shown once again… that human rights are systematically abused in Putin’s Russia.”
On Tuesday, The British Green Party called for a European Union travel ban on the Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, as a result of the official ban on the event and the apparent willingness of police to allow gay participants to be beaten by protesters.
In Portugal, the country’s gay and lesbian organisation Panteras Rosa (Pink Panthers) slammed Russian authorities following last weekend’s events. The group also slated Portuguese Prime Minister JosÃ© SÃ³crates who was in Moscow for talks at the Kremlin with President Putin on Monday, for not speaking out on the matter.
“The 27th of May was a day of shame for the Russian authorities. But it was also a day of shame for JosÃ© SÃ³crates and for the EU – and we will not forget it,” the Pinks Panthers said in a statement.
“However, even more shameful than the impunity of ultra-religious and right-wing people who attacked this demonstration, is the unbearable silence of the EU, who, in the name of commercial agreements being arranged with Russia, is silent over these violations of human rights,” said the organisation.
“The presence and silence of JosÃ© SÃ³crates, the Portuguese prime minister, who was in Moscow and is about to take EU presidency, are [an example of] the double standards of the EU, whose rhetoric seems to be using human rights only when financial interests are not at stake.”
On Wednesday, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) condemned the violence at the Moscow Pride rally and the failure of Moscow police to protect demonstrators.
Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC’s Executive Director said, “The behaviour of Moscow authorities is an outrage, not to mention a clear violation of the international covenants protecting speech and assembly.” She further pointed out, “Gay pride-related rallies are a core vehicle for social change in many parts of the world for LGBT people. Without the right to public speech, we can not challenge the discrimination we face.”
While Russia is not a member of the European Union, it is a member of the Council of Europe, and a signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights which entrenches the right to peaceful protests and gatherings.