Saturday, 16 May 2009

Green Party's Human Rights speaker Peter Tatchell arrested in Moscow

Peter Tatchell outside Brighton Pavilion with Green Party Euro-MP Caroline Lucas

The Green Party's Human Rights spokesperson Peter Tatchell is among 40 people arrested in Moscow today as police use violence to break up a Gay Pride march in the city, according to march organisers.

Last year, Tatchell was beaten up , this year arrested by the same authorities who outlawed the march but gave permission for counter-demonstrations by far right ultra-nationalists.

Some European diplomats are said to have witnessed the violence and arrests - and are planning formal action, which could EU involve sanctions.

But we need't wait for the Eurocrats to act half-heartedly, we can take action ourselves - starting by boycotting tonight's Eurovision Song Contest - and moving on to a simple boycott of Russian goods until its government makes a clear commitment to respecting LGBT and all human rights.

Russia is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the rights to freedom of assembly, freedom of speech - and freedom from discrimination on the basis of sexuality. If Moscow isn't prepared to respect these rights, then the Cuoncil of Europe should take firm action against the state.

Pride organiser Nikolai Alekseev, who was held down by five fully-armed riot police during his arrest, said:

"I call upon all of the artists who are due to perform at tonight's Eurovision to boycott tonight's event and send a message that Russia's state oppression of human rights is not acceptable.

"The Russian Government is using this years Eurovision in Moscow as a gala showpiece to show the world how far the country has improved since the early 1990's. However, what was witnessed this afternoon on the streets of Moscow shows the world just how little Russia has travelled when it comes to supporting fundamental human rights.

"The police brutality that we witnessed here this afternoon is shocking. We planned a peaceful march to highlight the dire state of LGBT rights in Russia today. The police, given violent legitimacy by the openly homophobic Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, did not hold back with their weapons, despite the world's media watching.

"We were defending the often violated human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Russians. We demand the same legal protection against discrimination and hate crimes that none LGBT people enjoy.

"This episode has shamed the Russian Government and Moscow authorities before the world."

3 comments:

  1. That's what he does!
    Are you surprised?

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  2. What do you mean 'that's what he does'? Get arrested in repressive regimes to draw attention to human rights abuses? I never said I was surprised - just glad I'm on the same side!

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  3. For the record so am I. I also think he is a very brave man.

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