Background Briefing

Pride and Violence: A Chronicle of the Events of May 27, 2006 in Moscow

Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper

June 1, 2006

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Photos of the Protests in Moscow

More of Human Rights Watch's work on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights

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Prelude: The Banning of the Gay Pride Parade

The Festival Opens—May 25

Continued Violence on May 27

This briefing paper is an account of the violence that attended Moscow’s first public lesbian and gay pride events and the police response to it.

May 27 saw attempts by several dozen Russian lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to hold peaceful manifestations for human rights at two different sites in Moscow. At both sites, large numbers of homophobic demonstrators, drawn predominantly from nationalist and Orthodox groups, engaged in violent attacks.

Police responded similarly in both instances. First, making no initial attempt to separate the sides, they allowed anti-gay protesters to continue an assault on participants in the peaceful demonstrations—pelting them with rocks, eggs, and other projectiles, and beating and kicking them. Then police intervened—at first forcing lesbians, gays and their supporters closer to their violent opponents. The police detained some of the attackers, but also their victims: including people who were speaking to the media, and people who had obviously been injured in the violence.