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Rights group
demands Moscow attacks be investigated

Rights group
demands Moscow attacks be investigated


Attacks on gays and lesbians trying to attend a Moscow gay party must be investigated, the international civil rights group demanded on Monday.

Attacks on gay and lesbian partygoers trying to attend a Moscow event must be investigated, an international civil rights group demanded on Monday. In a letter to Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, Human Rights Watch said authorities must look into two incidents in which protesters threatened and attacked people entering and leaving bars and venues frequented by gays.

The incidents also underscore the need for the mayor to retract a threatened ban on Russia's first planned gay pride parade, scheduled for May 27, the group said. "As Moscow's gays and lesbians prepare for their first gay pride parade, Mayor Luzhkov faces a choice," said Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. "He can stand up to protect human rights or endorse the views of extremists responsible for antigay violence."

On the night of April 30, several hundred Russian skinheads, nationalists, and religious protesters massed in front of the Renaissance Event Club on Ordzhonikidze Street in Moscow, where organizers had advertised the gay Open Party. Many of the protesters shouted threats, including "No perverts here," while throwing bottles, rocks, and eggs. They reportedly beat at least one person attempting to attend the party. Police arrived but only slowly. When the club had to be evacuated, people leaving the building were hit by stones and other objects.

About 39 antigay protesters were arrested as they targeted another gay club in Moscow, shouting slurs and smashing the windows of nearby cars.

A spokesman for the mayor's office told reporters on February 16 that "the Moscow government is not even going to consider allowing a gay parade." He claimed that the proposed event has "evoked outrage in society, in particular among religious leaders." (The Advocate)

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