Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/772/17035
St Petersburg Pride rally attacked
Over the weekend of 29-30 June lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people took part in Pride events in various cities in Britain. At the same time a Pride march in Russia was viciously attacked. Michael Johnson reports.
Pride in St Petersburg on 29 June was met with violence, both from anti-gay protestors and the police. Attendees at the Pride rally were pelted with rocks and eggs, shouted down with homophobic chants and attacked by riot police. Dozens were arrested.
For Pride marches and rallies in Russia this is not an uncommon occurrence. Unlike the stereotypical photos you might imagine coming from Pride marches, of revellers and carnivals, from Russia you're more likely to see photos of marchers being dragged off by the police or having abuse hurled at them.
However the attacks this year come following the passing of the 'gay propaganda' law. This law claims to be centred on 'protecting' minors from information about LGBT issues. This bill is similar to Section 28 of the local government act brought in by Thatcher and the Conservatives during the 1980s that basically made it illegal to acknowledge that LGBT people existed within schools and can be seen as a large contributing factor to the amount of homophobic bullying that goes on in schools even today.
But the 'gay propaganda' law in Russia manages to surpass what Section 28 and its devisors dreamed: making it illegal to 'promote' homosexuality in the media, on the internet, even within viral videos! Anyone believed to be informing minors of LGBT issues may be fined up to 5,000 rubles (around £100) for an individual, up to one million rubles (over £20,000) for a company. Foreigners could be fined the same amount, held in jail and deported!
This law means that, as we saw at St Petersburg, Pride rallies and marches can expect to face even more fierce opposition from anti-gay groups and repression from the state.
It's no coincidence that this law and subsequent repression and censorship comes at the same time as other laws censoring protest (such as laws inspired by the arrest of Pussy Riot activists, banning protests that may offend religious beliefs). It's also no coincidence that Russia's government is facing fierce protests due to corruption.
These laws are a way to further censor and repress the Russian working class. LGBT rights campaigners must join forces with campaigns to defend women's rights and the mass of the working class to fight these repressive laws and campaign for true equality.
The Socialist Party's sister organisation in Russia has a very strong record of fighting these repressive laws and of fighting for an end to prejudice and for a socialist alternative.
In The Socialist 3 July 2013:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns