Authorities in the Russian city of Arkhangelsk thought a rally honoring a fish called the gay smelt carried a whiff of banned pro-LGBT “propaganda,” so they’ve sunk the organizers’ plan.
Indeed, LGBT activists’ application to hold the tongue-in-cheek rally next Monday was accompanied by requests to hold a march for LGBT victims of the terrorist group ISIS in the Middle East, plus two Pride events, Gay Star News reports. Officials in Arkhangelsk denied all the requests, citing the national law banning “promotion of nontraditional sexual relations” in venues accessible to minors.
“Activists are hoping to make clear that Russian authorities are putting a tribute to gay fish in the same category as a protest against extremism,” Gay Star News notes.
The publication adds that the idea of a “gay fish” tribute “isn’t completely crazy,” as St. Petersburg has held a Festival of Smelt for centuries, honoring the small fish that is a “staple of the Russian diet.”
Organizers of the Arkhangelsk event had planned to display “gay fish” signage and also make the serious point that the smelt is being overfished. One of the organizers, Moscow Pride founder Nikolai Alekseyev, vowed to sue over the denial, in Russia and, if necessary, in the Court of Justice of the European Union.