Main | Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Moscow Promises Safety For Gays At Eurovision 2009

Even though gay rights marches have been banned there, Moscow authorities say that gay Eurovision fans will be safe when the city hosts the contest next year. Activists aren't convinced.
A leading Russian gay rights activist has accused the Moscow authorities of "pure hypocrisy" after an official gave assurances about the safety of gay people attending next year's Eurovision Song Contest.

Sergei Ananov, the deputy head of the Moscow committee on tourism, said at a press briefing at the World Travel Market 2008 in London: "Moscow is known for the respect of people of different religious beliefs as well as expressions of their nature. Until people respect public order and do not thrust their opinions on those who surround them in a manner that does not contradicts the law, such opinions will not be criticised." Gay rights marches have been repeatedly banned in Moscow.

Russia won the Eurovision Song Contest earlier this year for the first time. Next year's final will be held on May 16th at Moscow’s Olympiyskiy stadium. Gay activists have already said that the fourth Gay Pride in the Russian capital will take place on the day of Eurovision final. The Mayor of Moscow has called gay rights activists "Satanic" and banned Pride in 2006 and 2007.
There were concerns of violence against gays at this year's Eurovision in Belgrade, Serbia, leading the government to issue a "pamphlet of advice" which offered suggestions on areas and behaviors to avoid. The event took place with no notable incidents.

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