Police in Russia have broken up a protest by gay rights activists in Moscow, staged to coincide with the final of the Eurovision Song Contest.
Some 30 campaigners had gathered near a university in defiance of a ban on their march and many were dragged away by police when they shouted slogans….
The Moscow mayor Yuri Luzkhov has described gay parades as “satanic”.
Anti-gay groups had threatened to take matters into their own hands if the police failed to stop the protest.
We watched OMON (Russian Special Forces) break up the protest and drag the protesters away on BBC, one of several English-language channels we get.
As you can tell, the attitude towards homosexuals in Russia isn’t exactly tolerant. I’ve seen a few lesbian couples on the street, but no gay couples. According to my guide book, St. Petersburg is more tolerant of homosexuality than other parts of Russia because it’s more European. I’m not really reading the Russian news here (I can’t, really), but I’ll let you know if I see anything in it about the protests.
5/9/09 – 23:30
The Church on Spilled Blood
“Write what you know” is probably one of the oldest clichés in creative circles. But in an unfamiliar city in a strange country speaking a language I can barely grasp, I don’t know a whole lot.
The archway leading to the Victory Day celebration.
I know that today was Victory Day, День Победы, and that I glimpsed through the cracks in a wall of children perched on their parents’ shoulders a parade of military vehicles rumble by. I know that the children were excited to see the Katyusha rockets on their launchers pass through Dvortsovaya Square. I know that I heard hundreds—perhaps thousands, I couldn’t see very well—of soldiers in the square shout and react in unison to commands given from the podium, a martial Russian show for a day of Soviet military success.
The parade, from afar.
Victory Day, I’m told, celebrates the Nazi German capitulation to Soviet forces in Berlin. Leningrad, as St. Petersburg was then called, bore a heavy burden during the conflict because the Nazis encircled it, choking it but never taking its streets. For its strangulation—the starvation and deprivation its residents endured—it is called a Hero City.
Many of Leningrad’s heroes were out today, wearing their military uniforms heavy with medals. They’re an old and dying generation, just as American veterans of the Second World War are, but I do not know their stories. I couldn’t really ask them; my language skills just aren’t there.
Posted in Russia
Tagged German, Hero City, Holiday, Leningrad, memorial, Nazi, Parade, rocket, Russia, siege, Soviet, St. Petersburg, victory day