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by Rex Wockner
A libel suit filed by Moscow Pride against Mayor Yuri Luzhkov over his having called gays “faggots” (“gomiki”) was dismissed by the Moscow City Court on July 2. It previously had been rejected by the Tverskoi District Court.
Pride leader Nikolai Alekseev said the group will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
The group had wanted Luzhkov to apologize for using the slur and pay 1 kopeck in damages (about three-hundredths of a cent).
The mayor made the remark on television in June 2009 while vowing that he would never authorize a gay parade in the city. “Public morality does not accept those faggots,” Luzhkov reportedly said. “Other people will simply kill them.”
Luzhkov has banned the pride parade for five years and has sent riot police to aggressively arrest small groups of activists who have defied the bans. He also has called gay pride parades “satanic” and, reportedly, “weapons of mass destruction.”
LGBT people managed to stage two small, brief pride marches in Moscow this year despite another ban. For the main event, organizers misled hundreds of riot police and undercover officers to a fake location.
“The march was relatively short, around five minutes, but we managed to fool the police and the anti-pride protesters,” Alekseev said.
British gay activist Peter Tatchell, who joined the march, said: “Pride organizers fed the police a steady stream of false information, via blogs and websites, concerning the location of the parade. They suggested that it would take place outside the EU (European Union) Commission’s offices. As a result, the police put the whole area in total lockdown.”
Earlier in the day, another group of some 25 activists staged an unannounced gay march for 10 minutes on a downtown pedestrian street. It ended when police blocked their path and the marchers ran away.
Moscow Pride organizers have sued over Luzhkov’s bans in a series of cases that have been merged at the European Court of Human Rights. A ruling is expected within months.