[JURIST] Several Russian gay rights activists were arrested by police in Moscow Sunday for holding events commemorating the 1993 law that put an end to government prosecution for homosexual activity in Russia. For the third consecutive year, Moscow Pride [advocacy website] held events around the city to elude officials attempting to enforce a local ban on gay pride parades [JURIST report]. Organizers unfurled a banner across the street from City Hall reading "Rights to gays and lesbians – homophobia of Mayor Luzhkov to be prosecuted." Other celebrations took place at a nearby monument to nineteenth-century Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, widely considered to have been a homosexual. Demonstration organizer Nicolas Alexeyev said the monument was chosen to "pay tribute to a person who was gay himself," but noted that the celebration had to be concealed because of societal disapproval for and "repressive" laws against granting parade permits to gay-rights activists. AFP has more. UK Gay News has updates.
Last year a Moscow district court upheld the city's ban on the 2007 Moscow Pride parade [JURIST report], citing the government's right to prohibit events to ensure public safety and prevent public disturbances. The court held the prohibition was legal under Russian law and the European Convention on Human Rights [text]. An appeal is currently pending in the European Court of Human Rights [official website].