Russian City Approves LGBT Rights Demonstration
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today applauds the city authorities of Khabarovsk, Russia for approving a human rights lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) demonstration for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, scheduled to take place on May 17, 2014. The demonstration will be the first approved public LGBT gathering since the discriminatory anti-“propaganda” laws took effect in 2013.
“It is heartening to see the city of Khabarovsk supporting important personal freedoms of the Russian LGBT community, who have faced increased persecution, harassment and arrests by authorities for organizing and participating in peaceful events and protests in recent months,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “We hope that this will be the first step in a movement by Russian city authorities and courts to protect the rights of freedom of assembly and expression of Russian activists and members of the LGBT community.”
On May 17, LGBT rights activist Alexander Yermoshkin along with a group of around 100 protesters will gather in Khabarovsk to release into the sky rainbow colored balloons with demonstrators wishes attached. Yermoshkin became an outspoken activist after he was fired in September 2013 from his job as a teacher of 18 years because of the anti-“propaganda” laws. In order to secure approval for the demonstration, Yermoshkin deliberately excluded from the event proposal posters calling for LGBT equality, according to Gay Star News.
Human Rights First continues to urge the U.S. government to press Russian officials to clarify the application of the anti-propaganda law, as well as end the systematic persecution of civil society, and prevent the spread of Russian-style anti-“propaganda” laws in the surrounding region.