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Despite threats, Moscow Gay Pride vows to march

Moscow Pride is going ahead on Saturday, May 28, despite its non-approval by the City government in defiance of a European Court of Human Rights decision. Far-right and Orthodox Church forces are planning a counter demonstration - approved by authorities - and already held one at the site last Saturday, delayed by rain, which one of the demonstrators blamed on the [Moscow Mayor] “Sobyanin lesbians.”

“We will drive them off!” Yury Ageshchev, coordinator of the Orthodox Brotherhood of the Russian Orthodox Church told Russian newspaper Kommersant.

“True, last year we had some issues with the police and there were arrests, but this time we will not give up. It’s going to get hot,” he threatened.

The office of the police chief has said "everything is ready to prevent [the gays] marching - and arrest them."

International gay activists including Dan Choi, Louis-Georges Tin and Peter Tatchell have arrived to join Moscow Pride.

Last night Moscow Pride organiser Nikolai Alekseev appeared on Russia's #1 talk show Poedinok. He walked off after accusing the moderator, Vladimir Solovyev, of slanting the show towards homophobes.

There are two four live blogs this year:

Moscow Pride organisers have responded to requests on how people internationally can support them, saying "pressure, can make a change, especially if it comes from many."

There are two different way to pressure. At the international level, Russia is a member of the Council of Europe. The European Court of Human Rights which is a body of the Council recently gave a decision against Russia for banning Moscow Pride. As a member of the Council, Russia has the obligation to fulfill the Court's decision. In addition, you can also contact your Embassy in Moscow and ask the Ambassador to issue a press release of support to Moscow Pride in the light of its ban.

Write to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe

> Why?
The Committee of Ministers supervises the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and ensure that the Member States comply with these judgments. By banning this year's Moscow Pride, Russia is not following the decision given by the European Court (read more).

> How ?
Send an email to: cm@coe.int

Write to your Embassy in Moscow

> Why?
It is a custom in Eastern Europe that EU and US Embassies come up with statements of support. However, in Russia, the different Embassies we have been in contact with in the last years, always denied to issue any statement of support, arguing that there was no court decision condemning the ban of the Moscow Pride. Last October, the European Court of Human Rights gave a decision against Russia for banning the Pride in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The decision became finale on April 11 after the Court denied to consider the appeal introduced by Russia. You can also ask your Embassy to monitor next May 28 Pride. As we said, we will go in the streets regardless the decision of the city hall because there are no legal basis to ban the Pride.

> How?
Simply submit a an email, or a fax, or if you do not want to write, just give them a call. We do not provide template that you could copy/paste because we believe it is important that you write with your own words and that the Embassies also understand that each email from you is real.